SECTION 1. Chapter 180 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 4A and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4A. (1) Credit counseling services as used in this chapter shall mean (a) the providing of financial and budgetary advice and opinion to individuals in connection with the creation of a budgetary plan; or (b) the creation of a plan whereby an individual turns over an agreed amount of income that is then distributed to creditors in accordance with a plan which creditors have approved and which may provide for smaller payments or a longer term than the original contract; or (c) the providing of educational services relating to the use of credit; or (d) for or with the expectation of a fee, commission, or other valuable consideration, assisting or offering to assist an individual in negotiating or attempting to negotiate a debt to a creditor in an amount less than the amount currently outstanding on the debt; or (e) any combination of these.
(2) Exempt attorney as used in this chapter shall mean an attorney licensed, or otherwise authorized, to practice law in this state who, in the context of an attorney-client relationship: (a) negotiates the settlement of pending litigation; (b) negotiates the settlement of a debt that is subject to a bona fide dispute regarding its amount or legality; (c) provides information, advice, or legal representation with respect to filing a case or proceeding under title 11 of the United States Code; or (d) negotiates a debt as an ancillary matter to such attorney’s representation of a client.
(3) No person, other than an exempt attorney or a nonprofit charitable corporation organized under the provisions of this chapter, shall render those credit counseling services specified in clause (1)(b) or (1)(d). Each such corporation shall comply with the provisions of section eight F of chapter twelve.
(4) Any such corporation formed for credit counseling purposes shall not engage in the practice of law. If it appears that an individual receiving credit counseling services needs legal advice or counsel, he shall be referred to an attorney of his own choice, the local bar association referral service, or a local legal aid program, whichever course may seem most appropriate.
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