This is the 4th in a series of 5 articles aimed at educating consumers on what I believe to be the true motivations behind The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC). If you have read my previous 3 articles, you have likely come to the same conclusion that I have. Contrary to what debt settlement salespeople claim, TASC is not a consumer watch dog at all, and in fact, many of their member companies are some of the most egregious offenders when it comes to ripping off consumers.
If TASC is not really an industry regulator and consumer watchdog, then why are most consumers under the impression that they are? Simple, brilliant marketing and dare I say it “propaganda.”
Debt Settlement Companies use TASC as a Marketing Gimmick
Think about the simplistic brilliance of TASC from a marketing standpoint. A group of debt settlement companies get together to protect their own self interests. They throw in some fluff guidelines that they suggest their member companies follow to give consumers the impression that they are looking out for them. Then they go out in full force and beat it into the public that TASC is an industry and consumer watchdog. They repeat that mantra ad nauseum until eventually, consumers simply accept it as if it were true.
Once consumers accept this without question, then becoming a member of TASC simply gives the debt settlement salesperson another trick to distract consumers from the bad financial solution they are probably selling. Think about it. What is the benefit for a debt settlement company to become a member of TASC? Debt Settlement companies can do everything that TASC suggests they do without becoming a member and paying large monthly dues to TASC. So why do they pay the money?
In a word, Sales. They use it to get consumers to let their guard down. They can lull a consumer into a false sense of security by claiming they have been vetted and approved by this great industry regulator known as TASC. After all, if TASC, the great protector of consumers has approved them, then you know you can trust them with your finances. Right?
Debt Settlement Salespeople use TASC to put Consumers into Bad Financial Programs
Here is an example of why you cannot trust TASC to vet a settlement program for you. About a month ago I got a call from a consumer that was looking for help. She had enrolled in a debt settlement program a few weeks prior. Then she received a call from another debt settlement salesperson that was a member of TASC. The TASC salesperson really impressed upon her how important it was that she only work with a program that was a member of TASC. The company she enrolled with was not and she would surely be sorry if she stayed with them. They were not certified by TASC and therefore could not be trusted.
The salesperson was successfully able to convince her to sign up into his program simply because he was a member of TASC. She faxed me over both contracts to review and asked for my opinion. The fee that her original program was charging her was 15% of her debt ($11,000) the TASC member company actually charged 18% of her debt ($13,000) as a fee. Both of these programs charged the fee over the first 24 months of a 48 month program. The TASC member company didn’t do anything that her original company didn’t do but actually charged 2,000 dollars more. Yet, they were able to successfully waive the TASC logo in front of the consumer to distract her from the fact that their program was actually much worse than the one she was already in. Remind me again how TASC is helping consumers?
Now both of these programs are absolutely bad news for consumers. They both charge way too much money and charge it all upfront, which is a surefire way for consumers to get burned. However, it is easier for a salesperson of a TASC member company to rip off a consumer because they can stick the TASC logo in a consumer’s face to distract them while signing them up for financial ruin.
Now if that rubs you the wrong way, I haven’t even told you the most egregious part of this story yet. During my consult with this consumer, she told me that her main source of income is an investment account, that given her current expenses will be completely out of money within 12 to 18 months. Remember, both of these settlement programs had her on a 48 month program and collected all of their fees upfront. Had she continued with either one of these programs, she would be completely out of money within 18 months, and have paid these thieves thousands of dollars in fees with absolutely nothing to show for it.
So here you have two settlement companies, one a member of TASC and one who wasn’t, yet they both were more interested in signing her up into their BS programs then they were about actually helping her with the financial Armageddon she was facing. These companies would have bled this consumer dry with fees for a year and then simply dropped her when she no longer had the money to pay them.
TASC Does More Harm to Consumers by Pretending to Look Out for Them
The example above is certainly not an isolated incident by any means. If this is the sort of thing we can expect to see from members of TASC, where does TASC get off claiming to be an industry and consumer watch dog? As I ponder this, I can’t help but think, that TASC is actually doing more harm to consumers by posing as a consumer watch dog organization and letting their member companies rob consumers blind under the moniker of a TASC certified organization. At least if consumers were not under the mistaken impression that TASC would be looking out for them, they might not let their guard down quite so easily when the salespeople start bumping their gums and pushing bad financial solutions.
What can we learn from all of this? I would say, that if a company is a member of TASC, that doesn’t automatically make them a bad company, but it certainly doesn’t mean we can automatically assume they are a good company either. As far as a consumer should be concerned, TASC is little more than a marketing gimmick trotted out by debt settlement salespeople, to distract consumers from the fact that they are being sold into a program, that likely does not make good financial sense for them. You must do your own research and due diligence before entrusting your financial future to any company. TASC is looking out for the best interests of their own member companies, not yours.
This article was the 4th, in a series of articles taking a closer look at The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC). The series currently consists of the following:
As I finish up the articles, you will see them hyper linked here. If you like my content, be sure not to miss out on the rest of the series. You can have the articles conveniently sent directly to your email inbox as soon as they go live live by clicking Here
As always, if you would like to contribute your thoughts, and have something to add to the article, please do so by commenting Here
Please consider sharing my article with others via Twitter, Facebook or your favorite social network by clicking one of the icons below.