FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. 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 

About The American Fair Credit Council

The American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) is the leading association of professional Consumer Credit Advocates.  The AFCC, and its member companies, work to represent the rights of consumers struggling with the overwhelming burden of debt.  The AFCC has developed a strict Code of Conduct centered on best practices designed to protect the rights of consumers and require member companies to follow strict regulatory guidelines for operation.  All AFCC members operate on a “No Advanced Fee Model” and never charge a fee for services until a consumer’s debt has been successfully negotiated.  


Robby Birnbaum – President
The American Fair Credit Council
Phone:  (888) 657-8272

About Hemming Morse LLP

Founded in 1958, Hemming Morse, LLP is a national firm leading the accounting industry in Forensic and Financial Consulting Services, as well as Financial and Compliance Auditing of Employee Benefit Plans.  Based in California, with more than 100 employees working from offices in San Francisco, San Mateo, Los Angeles, Walnut Creek, Santa Rosa, Fresno and Chico, Hemming Morse handles complex and high-profile assignments that are local, regional, national and international in scope.


Greg J. Regan, CPA/CFF, Partner
Hemming Morse LLP
Phone: (415) 836-4034

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