Attorney General Peter Nickles announced today that the District, along with 19 other states, has reached a consumer protection settlement with the debt management company AscendOne Corporation, based in Columbia, Maryland. Under the settlement, AscendOne, its owner and its subsidiaries, have agreed to a DC Superior Court order that will prevent them from continuing to offer debt management services in the District without first registering as a consumer credit service organization.
In a complaint filed today in DC Superior Court, the District alleged that, in addition to operating in the District without having properly registered, AscentOne misrepresented to consumers that its debt management services would be performed by a non-profit credit counseling agency and would include credit counseling. In fact, consumers had little or no contact with credit counselors.
“Debt management companies – wherever they may be physically located – cannot offer their services to District residents without complying with the District’s laws,” Attorney General Nickles said.
As part of the settlement, the District will receive a $56,467 payment for its Consumer Protection Fund.
The defendants agreed to the settlement without any admission of liability. The settlement is in the form of a consent judgment that becomes effective upon approval by the Court.