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(Black Enterprise) — As of Monday, Sept. 27, new Federal Trade Commission rules went into effect that will prevent abusive practices by debt settlement companies. These settlement companies can no longer make promises to eliminate your debt.

As of June 2009, The Association of Settlement Companies, which is a major settlement industry group, estimated its members managed 154,000 consumer clients with more than $4.9 billion in debt. In order to attract their clients, the debt settlement companies frequently claim that they’re non-profit, that they can renegotiate your outstanding debt (in a reasonable amount of time) and can settle with creditors for a fraction of the amount owed.

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