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Title XXVII DEBTOR-CREDITOR RELATIONS

Chapter 425

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  425.043.  Required disclosures — misrepresentations and payment prohibited — funds held, requirements. — 1.  Before a debtor consents to pay for goods or services offered, debt adjusters shall disclose truthfully, in a clear and conspicuous manner, the following material information:

  (1)  The amount of time necessary to achieve the represented results, and the extent that the debt relief service may include a settlement offer to any of the debtor's creditors or debt collectors, the time by which the debt adjuster will make a bona fide settlement offer to each of them;

  (2)  To the extent that the debt relief service may include a settlement offer to any of the debtor's creditors or debt collectors, the amount of money or the percentage of each outstanding debt that the debtor shall accumulate before the debt adjuster will make a bona fide settlement offer to each of them;

  (3)  To the extent that any aspect of the debt relief service relies upon or results in the debtor's failure to make timely payments to creditors or debt collectors, that the use of the debt relief service will likely adversely affect the debtor's creditworthiness, may result in the debtor being subject to collection actions or sued by creditors or debt collectors, and may increase the amount of money the debtor owes due to the accrual of fees and interest; and

  (4)  To the extent that the debt adjuster requests or requires the debtor to place funds in an account at an insured financial institution, that the debtor owns the funds held in the account, the debtor may withdraw from the debt relief service at any time without penalty, and, if the debtor withdraws, the debtor shall receive all funds in the account, other than funds earned by the debt adjuster, within seven business days of the debtor's request.

  2.  A debt adjuster shall not misrepresent, directly or by implication, any material aspect of any debt relief service, including, but not limited to, the amount of money or the percentage of the debt amount that a debtor may save by using such service; the amount of time necessary to achieve the represented results; the amount of money or the percentage of each outstanding debt that the debtor shall accumulate before the debt adjuster will initiate attempts with the debtor's creditors or debt collectors or make a bona fide offer to negotiate, settle, or modify the terms of the debtor's debt; the effect of the service on the debtor's creditworthiness; the effect of the service on collection efforts of the debtor's creditors or debt collectors; the percentage or number of debtors who attain the represented results; and whether a debt relief service is offered or provided by a nonprofit entity.

  3.  A debt adjuster shall not receive payment of any fee or consideration for any debt relief service until and unless:

  (1)  The debt adjuster has renegotiated, settled, reduced, or otherwise altered the terms of at least one debt under a debt management plan or debt settlement plan;

  (2)  The debtor has made at least one payment under such debt management plan or debt settlement plan; and

  (3)  The fee or consideration for settling each individual debt enrolled in a debt settlement plan shall either:

  (a)  Bear the same proportional relationship to the total fee for settling the entire debt balance as the individual debt amount bears to the entire debt amount.  The individual debt amount and the entire debt amount are amounts owed at the time the debt was enrolled on the debt relief service; or

  (b)  Be a percentage of the amount saved as a result of the settlement.  The percentage charged shall not change from one individual debt to another.  The amount saved is the difference between the amount owed at the time the debt was enrolled in the debt relief service and the amount actually paid to satisfy the debt.

  4.  Nothing in this section prohibits requesting or requiring the debtor to place funds in an account to be used for the debt adjuster's fees for payments to creditors or debt collectors in connection with the renegotiation, settlement, reduction, or other alteration of the terms of payment or other terms of debt, provided that:

  (1)  The funds are held in an account at an insured financial institution;

  (2)  The debtor owns the funds held in the account and is paid accrued interest on the account, if any;

  (3)  If the debt adjuster does not administer the account, the entity administering the account is not owned or controlled by, or in any way affiliated with, the debt adjuster;

  (4)  The entity administering the account does not give or accept any money or other compensation in exchange for referrals of business by the debt adjuster; and

  (5)  The debtor may withdraw from the debt relief service at any time without penalty, and shall receive all funds in the account, other than funds earned by the debt adjuster in compliance with subdivision (3) of subsection 3 of this section, within seven business days of the debtor's request.

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(L. 2011 H.B. 661)


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2011 ----

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