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Abstract

Debt settlement companies can offer a simple and valuable means of resolving consumer debt. However, many debt settlement companies choose to engage in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices at the expense of desperate debt-ridden consumers, making it an unrealistic option of debt relief. Due to the unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices by some debt settlement companies, the regulatory regime has been trending towards increased regulation. However, the lack of enforcement and severity of existing regulations causes persistent problems in the debt settlement industry, resulting in increased consumer debt instead of consumer debt relief. This Note advocates for enhanced enforcement and permanent penalties in the form of mini Consumer Financial Protection Acts and surety bonds. Higher penalty costs will effectively deter the unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices of debt settlement companies, and make debt settlement a safer option for debt-ridden consumers.

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