Forensic Analysis of Debt Settlement Program Participants, Commissioned by the American Fair Credit Council, Validates Economic Benefit to Consumers

by Danna

Posted on 02/21/2018


Source: AFCC

Debt Settlement Produces Real Results for Americans Struggling with Unsecured Debt

Fort Lauderdale, FL – February 21, 2018 –The results of a six-year study of consumers enrolled in debt settlement programs, commissioned by the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) and performed by the Certified Public Accounting firm of Hemming Morse LLP, once again shows consumers realize financial benefit from debt settlement program participation. Furthermore, the study illustrates that consumers have realized greater benefits since regulation of the industry went into effect in 2010. The most recent report, the third of its kind since the AFCC first commissioned the study back in 2012, tracks the outcomes of over 400,000 clients in 2.9 million accounts enrolled in debt settlement programs during the period January 1, 2011 to March 31, 2017.

The 2017 study represents the most comprehensive, forensic analysis of its kind, and documents the economic benefit consumers received as a result of their participation in debt settlement programs over the past decade. The study revealed several positive findings for consumers seeking relief from the burden of credit card debt. Most notable among the findings are that consumers are receiving financial benefit in the form of debt reduction resulting from regulations imposed on the debt settlement industry through the Revised Telemarketing Sales Rule in October of 2010 by the Federal Trade Commission and The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For consumers struggling with unsecured debt, the data clearly shows that debt settlement offers significant advantages compared to other options. Key takeaways include:

  • Debt settlement on average saves consumers $2.64 for every $1 in fees paid
  • More than 95% of debt settlement clients receive savings in excess of fees
  • Most consumers see initial account settlements within 4-6 months of program start
  • Debt settlement clients pay no fees until settlements are completed

Robby Birnbaum, President of the AFCC commented, “This report validates what our association and its members have known for years; debt settlement programs can offer struggling consumers a proven path to improved financial health. While not for everyone, these programs offer consumers tremendous benefit and an important lifeline towards an improved balance sheet and financial stability.”

For more information or to obtain a copy of the report, visit the American Fair Credit Council’s website at

  • What is the best debt relief option for you?