Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced a recent agreement between Florida-based debt management company Touchstone Partners, Inc. and the Colorado Department of Law in resolution of Touchstone’s violations of the Colorado Debt Management Services Act (DMSA). Under the agreement, Touchstone is to refund over $110,000 in fees collected from consumers.
The DMSA requires debt management companies to include consumer protections in their agreements and specifically requires companies to provide an agreement signed by both parties. In March 2021, the AG’s office initiated an examination of Touchstone to determine its compliance with the Colorado DMSA. Pursuant to that examination, the AG’s office found that Touchstone was entering into agreements with consumers for debt-management services that were not dated or signed by either the customer or the company.
While the DMSA specifically prohibits charging for debt-management services until the provider and consumer have actually signed an agreement that complies with the law, Touchstone repeatedly charged and received fees for debt-management services provided to consumers without these signatures. A self-audit conducted by Touchstone revealed that the company failed to sign 100% of the reviewed agreements.
The agreement requires Touchstone to send the refunds directly to consumers beginning in January 2024. Affected consumers are not required to take any further action to receive the refunds.
This recent agreement comes as another example of the Colorado AG’s mission to make consumer protection a priority, both locally and as part of large actions brought by groups of AGs. Ballard Spahr maintains a strong relationship with the AG’s office and has a deep understanding of how they conduct investigations and enforcement actions. To listen to a recent episode of our Consumer Finance Monitor Podcast in which AG Weiser was our special guest, click here.