Current as of: 2009
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Consumer" means consumer as defined in Section 37-1-301(10).
(2) "Credit counseling organization" means a person providing or offering to provide to consumers credit counseling services for a fee, compensation, or gain, or in the expectation of a fee, compensation, or gain, including debt management plans.
(a) The business of credit counseling is conducted in this State if the credit counseling organization, its employees, or its agents are located in this State or if the credit counseling organization solicits or contracts with debtors located within this State.
(b) This term does not include the following when acting in the regular course of their respective businesses and professions:
(i) attorneys at law;
(ii) banks, fiduciaries, credit unions, savings and loan associations, and savings banks as duly authorized and admitted to transact business in the State of South Carolina;
(iii) a certified public accountant providing credit counseling advice pursuant to an accounting practice;
(iv) title insurers and abstract companies doing escrow business;
(v) judicial officers or others acting pursuant to court order;
(vi) nonprofit faith-based organizations;
(vii) counselors certified by the South Carolina Housing Authority to the extent engaged in counseling pursuant to Chapter 23, High-Cost and Consumer Home Loans. These counselors must be certified by the Housing Authority pursuant to Section 37-23-40;
(viii) mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, salesmen, and property managers licensed pursuant to Title 40; and
(ix) consumer reporting agencies as defined by 15 U.S.C. Section 1681(a) (f) and any person or agency, or any affiliate or subsidiary of a consumer reporting agency, that obtains consumer reports from the agency under a certification pursuant to 15 U.S.C. Section 1681(e)(a) for the purpose of reselling the report, or information contained in or derived from the report, to a consumer, or monitoring information in the report on behalf of a consumer.
(3) "Credit counseling service" means:
(a) receiving or offering to receive funds from a consumer for the purpose of distributing the funds among the consumer's creditors in full or partial payment of the consumer's debts;
(b) improving or offering to improve a consumer's credit record, history, or rating;
(c) negotiating or offering to negotiate to defer or reduce a consumer's obligations with respect to credit extended by others.
(4) "Credit counselor" means an employee or agent of a credit counseling organization engaging in services described in subsection (3) of this section.
(5) "Creditor" means the person who grants credit in a consumer credit transaction or, except as otherwise provided, an assignee of a creditor's right to payment, but the term does not in itself impose on an assignee an obligation of his assignor. In the case of credit granted pursuant to a credit card, the 'person who grants credit' is the card issuer and not another person honoring the credit card.
(6) "Debt management plan" or "DMP" means a program in which an organization agrees to engage in debt settlement or debt pooling and distribution services on behalf of a consumer with the consumer's creditors and under which the consumer gives money or control of his funds to the organization for distribution to the consumer's creditors.
(7) "Debt settlement" means any action or negotiation initiated or taken by or on behalf of a consumer with a creditor of the consumer for the purpose of obtaining debt forgiveness of a portion of the credit extended by the creditor to the consumer or a reduction of payments, charges, or fees payable by the consumer.
(8) "Debtor" means the person or persons for whom the credit counseling service is performed.
(9) "Department" means the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs.
(10) "Licensee" means a person licensed pursuant to this chapter.
(11) "Nonprofit organization" means a person exempt from taxation pursuant to 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
(12) "Person" means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, unincorporated organization, or other form of entity, however organized, including a nonprofit organization.
Related Articles: Credit Counseling