Get The Facts!
Make an informed decision. OCCAM makes it SIMPLE.
The debt relief industry has been widely categorized as risky and sometimes dangerous. Unfortunately, many rogue businesses have tarnished the reputation of the quality service providers that exist to help consumers with their debts. Just because a company brandishes a fancy credibility logo or is a part of a trade group doesn’t mean they are credible. Many companies will even taut special certifications to convince you they are qualified to offer you help. The sad truth is that many of the certifications are nothing more than a credibility ploy to make you believe they have received some specialized training and are qualified. The trade groups that companies claim grants them special credibility are many times nothing more than political interest groups lobbying Washington on behalf of the companies to loosen the laws while doing nothing to protect you.
What YOU need to know!
OCCAM is a meaningful self-regulation model that puts YOU in control and grants you protections and assurances. YOU, the consumer, need to know that the company you choose to help you sort your financial difficulties is qualified and will help. We are here to make that happen. OCCAM Members are held accountable for every single customer they work with, ensuring that you do not have to go it alone. We are leaders from every vertical of the debt relief industry, working together to clear the water and walk you through the process. Below are a few of the regulating entities that govern the industry. Should you find yourself in a precarious situation with ANY debt relief provider in any of the forms of service they perform, we will use all available means to help you solve it. OCCAM Members will never leave you in a tough spot and will always work to satisfy your challenges and get you out of debt. If we identify a non-compliant company operating in this industry or hurting people, we will leverage the agencies already in place to see a stop to it. There are several consumer protection agencies that regulate the debt relief companies. Get familiar with them. The BBB is also a good research tool to find out whether a company is performing a quality service. Read on:
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, formerly named the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created through the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and is commissioned to protect consumers from abuses in the financial marketplace. This bureau is responsible for pursuing legal actions against many rogue companies in the Deb tRelief industry for violating the Consumer Protection Act.
One of the most noteworthy protections comes from UDAAP (Unfair, Deceptive, Abusive Acts and Practices) which is designed to protect you from being lied to or misled when being sold into a debt relief program. Good companies will make required disclosures and will not enroll you into their program without a full, comprehensive consultation. OCCAM enforces these protocols to ensure that you have had a proper consultation prior to enrollment and requires mandatory disclosures to be explained thoroughly.
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act. Its principal mission is the promotion of consumer protection and the elimination and prevention of anticompetitive business practices, such as coercive monopoly. They passed an amendment with provisions and exemptions, to the Telemarketing Sales Rule which prohibits debt relief companies from charging advance fees.
The FTC has been instrumental in taking down companies that violate your rights and their laws. Many operators have exploited exemptions to these rules. Although viable exemptions exist for debt relief companies through the rule, most companies charging an advance fee are using technical loopholes to get around the rules. OCCAM will not allow this behavior to stand. Only LEGITIMATE exemptions will be allowed after a through vetting.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust, consisting of 106 independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the United States and Canada, coordinated under the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) in Arlington, Virginia.
The Better Business Bureau is not affiliated with any governmental agency. Businesses that affiliate with the BBB and adhere to its standards do so through industry self-regulation. To avoid bias, the BBB’s policy is to refrain from recommending or endorsing any specific business, product or service. Although the BBB cannot enforce behaviors, good companies will care about their reputation and will resolve complaints when lodged through the BBB. Researching the company’s BBB can grant critical information that will assist you in further vetting the company.
Each state has its own Attorney General’s Office. Any issues you have with a company can be addressed through the Attorney General of that state. In many cases, each state has its own requirements for debt relief providers to do business there. Some require licensing, others require foreign entity registration. In many states, the company must be registered, licensed and bonded. In many states there are fee cap provisions written into their statutes. Companies that fail to register, license, carry appropriate bonds and/or fail to charge fees within the fee cap range can be fined and even shut down by these agencies. It is CRITICAL that the company you choose is appropriately licensed, registered and bonded in your state. Aside from the Federal Laws that protect you, your own state has laws that can also protect you in instances where a company has wronged you. Just because a company has registered their business name doesn’t mean they have an actual company. Many companies haven’t set the appropriate bylaws or operating agreement that actually establishes that the company is legitimate and formed correctly to offer the services they offer. OCCAM ensures that each member company is appropriately structured, registered and/or licensed to operate in your state.