"(To) prohibit certain kinds of conduct such as requiring up-front fees or advance fees," Drinkwater said.
The change would also make it illegal for a company to engage in a variety of deceptive unfair representations and practices.
Making promises they can't keep would be one example. Some claim all collection calls will cease, when actually, in many cases the creditors are never notified that a settlement is in the works and continue to demand full payment.
"Ultimately the problem is that consumers will end up in a much worse financial position because they've had to pay these up-front fees. Meanwhile, the interest on their debts has accrued (and) collection efforts continue. Ultimately they may be facing judgments against them," Drinkwater said.
"It makes me madder than a hornet," said Jan Jones.
That's because at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Alaska, she sees what happens when those already desperate go to the wrong places to repair their debt.
"Because the last thing a person already in trouble needs is somebody else taking advantage of them," she said.
That's why credit counselors like Jones say the new push by the FTC and individual states is good news for the consumer
"What I'm seeing is the predatory lending folks have now moved into the debt settlement because that's where they can make a big pot of money by preying on people who can least afford it," Jones said.
That's why the Attorney General's office is pushing for tighter regulations to protect the consumer, but it's also up to the consumer to be more diligent and to deal with reputable agencies, like non-profits close to home.
"I'm right here," Jones says.
"You can find me 8:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, if I make you mad, you can come talk to me. If you are dealing with somebody online or over the telephone, they could be in India, they could be in Florida, they could be in New York next week, and you wouldn't know they moved," she said.
Jones says it all starts with consumers organizing all their finances and approaching creditors directly.
"Oftentimes creditors will work with you to reduce interest and reduce the payments to assist you to repay full balance. That's going to show up better on your credit report and you're going to feel better about yourself for paying your debt in full," she said.
Then consumers can join the ranks of the thousands who have successfully paid off their debt in full, instead of falling further behind because of predators still on the prowl.
The companies are also accused of promising quick fixes. The Attorney General's office says there is no quick and easy solution and it could take up to a year to get back on track.
Contact Maria Downey at firstname.lastname@example.org