CCCS-SF Supports Credit Counseling Investigation

October 24, 2003 – Though the recent IRS investigation of credit counseling agencies (allegations include using the tax-exempt, non-profit status while charging consumers excessive fees and providing substandard services) may cause others to panic, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco (CCCS-SF) considers it a step in the right direction.

"The credit counseling industry has been damaged by unscrupulous companies, and countless Americans have lost a lot of money at a time in their lives when they can least afford it," said Joanne Budde, CCCS-SF's president. "High quality, affordable counseling and assistance does exist. But faith in the industry has been so tarnished that people no longer know where to turn for real help."

CCCS-SF urges consumers to demand the following standards in a credit-counseling agency:

  • Have a long and positive history of helping the community
  • Staff certified and trained counselors
  • No pressure to enroll in a debt repayment plan
  • Pass an objective accreditation process
  • Offer money management, housing, and credit report education – not just debt consolidation
  • Provide free counseling that includes a detailed budget examination and assurance that essential living expenses are covered before debt payment is arranged
  • The monthly debt management plan administrative fee complies with state law ($20 maximum in California)

"For too long these companies have been allowed to thrive and take advantage of people who are in a very vulnerable position," said Budde. "Americans need trustworthy financial education and assistance now more than ever."

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco is an accredited nonprofit financial counseling and education agency. Services include money management assistance, a debt repayment program, housing education, and credit report review. CCCS-SF has been serving the community since 1969. For more information contact Erica Sandberg at (415) 788-0288 ext. 224, or log onto www.cccssf.org.

Copyright © 2005 CCCS of San Francisco
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