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Debt Settlement Company Settles Consumer Claims

CONTACT: Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5507

July 14, 2009

Century Negotiations, Inc., a North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, company that negotiates debt settlements for consumers, will refund over $65,000 in fees to Vermonters and pay the State of Vermont $70,000 to settle claims that the company violated state law by unlawfully engaging in the business of debt adjustment without a license, and failed to comply with the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act. Commenting on the settlement, the third this year involving a debt settlement firm, Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell said, “My office will continue to work to protect Vermonters from companies that claim to help people in economic distress but don’t follow our consumer laws.”

According to the Attorney General, Century Negotiations violated the Consumer Fraud Act by not following the state’s three-day right to cancel requirements for telephonic transactions, and by failing to have prior documentation for online claims that it could settle consumers’ debts for “less than 50 cents on the dollar.” Century Negotiations charges its customers a fee of up to 15 percent of the amount of the debts placed for settlement; the company entered into contracts with 64 Vermont consumers.

Under the terms of the settlement, Century Negotiations will, among other things, refund all fees collected from its Vermont customers; pay $2,000 to any Vermont customer who was sued by a creditor after signing up with the company; and promptly complete, without charge, negotiations with the creditors of its Vermont customers, at each customer’s option

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