Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 20. Montana Consumer Debt Management Services Act

Requirements For Debt Management Plans -- Rulemaking Authority

30-14-2010. Requirements for debt management plans -- rulemaking authority. (1) A credit counseling service may not require or accept any consideration from a consumer for the provision of services or the offer to provide services unless a written and dated debt management plan meeting the requirements of this section has been signed by the consumer. A copy of the debt management plan must be provided to the consumer.

(2) The debt management plan must include the following:

(a) the name and principal business address of the credit counseling service and the name and address of the consumer;

(b) a full and detailed description of the services to be performed by the credit counseling service for the consumer;

(c) a clear statement of the costs to the consumer, including contributions or fees, highlighted in bold type;

(d) a statement, in a prominent location in the plan in at least 10-point bold type, that either party may cancel the agreement without penalty at any time upon 10 days' notice and that a consumer who cancels an agreement is entitled to a refund of all unexpended funds that the consumer has paid to the credit counseling service as of the date of the notice;

(e) a complete list of the obligations of each party that are subject to the terms of the agreement;

(f) an indication of how disputes are to be resolved; and

(g) a statement that the credit counseling service has a duty to advocate the interests of the consumer who is a party to the debt management plan and not promote the interests of any third party that is in conflict with the primary obligation of advocating the interests of the consumer.

(3) A credit counseling service shall provide each consumer who is a party to a debt management plan with a report that shows the funds received from the consumer since the last report and the disbursement of those funds made to each creditor of the consumer. The credit counseling service shall provide the reports to consumers on at least a quarterly basis.

(4) (a) A credit counseling service may not impose any fees or other charges on a consumer or receive any payment from a consumer or other person on behalf of a consumer except as allowed by this section.

(b) The fees or charges referred to in this subsection (4) include voluntary contributions and any other fees charged to or collected from a consumer or on behalf of a consumer.

(c) A credit counseling service may not charge an initial consultation fee that exceeds an amount set by the department by rule. The fee or portion of the fee may not be charged until the credit counseling service has complied with the provisions of this section.

(d) A credit counseling service may charge a monthly maintenance fee. In the absence of exceptional circumstances as defined in the department's rules, a credit counseling service may not have a total monthly fee in an amount that exceeds the amount set by the rules.

(e) A credit counseling service may not, as a condition of entering into a debt management plan, require a consumer to purchase for a fee a counseling session, an educational program, or materials and supplies.

(f) Fees charged for services other than credit counseling services must be fair and reasonable.

(g) If the credit counseling service imposes any fee or other charge or receives any funds or other payments not authorized by this section, except as a result of a bona fide error, the debt management plan is void and the credit counseling service shall return to the consumer all fees received from or on behalf of the consumer.

(5) Credit counseling services are prohibited from using hold harmless clauses, confessions of judgment, and waivers of the right to jury trials in debt management plans.

(6) The department may promulgate rules as necessary to implement the provisions of this part, including setting fees.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 272, L. 2005.