For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: November 4, 2010

Debt Management Company Agrees to Change Business Practices

(Boise) – A debt management company must pay Idaho $169,398 in attorneys’ fees and investigative costs and change how it does business in the state, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today. Wasden joined with 20 other attorneys general in a legal settlement with AscendOne Corporation of Columbia, Maryland. AscendOne agreed to pay a total of $4.5 million to the 21 states.

The settlement follows a lengthy investigation into allegations that AscendOne unlawfully offered and sold debt management services to Idaho consumers through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Amerix Corporation, CareOne Services, Inc., FreedomPoint Financial Corporation, and 3C, Inc. At the time it operated in Idaho, AscendOne was not licensed to engage in debt management services. After the investigation began, CareOne Services became a licensed credit and debt counselor.

The investigation also revealed that, instead of providing consumers counseling regarding all of the options available to them to resolve their debt issues, the company did little more than enroll consumers into a debt management plan that generated fees for AscendOne, but did not always benefit consumers.

“When consumers pay for a service, they are entitled to receive that service,” Attorney General Wasden said.

In addition, the Attorney General was concerned that AscendOne was representing that the services they were selling were provided by a non-profit entity when this was not true.

The settlement agreement prohibits AscendOne from:

  • offering, selling, or performing debt management services in Idaho, unless it complies with all state law requirements;
  • misrepresenting that a non-profit agency performs AscendOne’s debt management services,
  • misrepresenting the purpose of AscendOne’s fees;
  • misrepresenting the impact a debt management plan can have on a consumer’s credit history;
  • enrolling a consumer into a debt management plan unless the consumer can afford the plan; and
  • failing to provide a consumer with meaningful credit counseling.

AscendOne admitted no wrongdoing under the settlement.

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