Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. WHAT IS THIS CLASS ARBITRATION ABOUT?

2. WHO ARE THE CLAIMANTS IN THIS ARBITRATION?

3.  WHO ARE THE RESPONDENTS IN THIS ARBITRATION?

4.  WHAT IS A CLASS ACTION?

5.  WHAT IS AN ARBITRATION AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN A LAWSUIT?

6.  WHY DID I RECEIVE A NOTICE OF PARTIAL CLASS ARBITRATION SETTLEMENT IN THE MAIL?

7.  WHERE DID YOU GET MY NAME?

8.   HAS THIS ARBITRATION BEEN CERTIFIED AS A CLASS ACTION?

9.  WHAT IS THE CLASS PERIOD?

10.   HOW MANY CLASS MEMBERS ARE IN THE CLASS?

11. WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

12.   WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO SHARE IN THE $4,000,000.00 BEING PAID BY GENUS AND ICI AS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?

13. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO SHARE IN THE SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS BEING PAID BY GENUS AND ICI?

14.  AM I GOING TO GET ANY MONEY FROM THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

15.  HOW MUCH WILL I GET?

16. AM I BEING SUED?

17. DO I NEED TO HIRE A LAYWER?

18. DO I HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING TO RECEIVE MONEY FROM THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

19. CAN I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE PROPOSED  SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI ENTIRELY?

20.  CAN I OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

21.  HOW WILL THE ATTORNEYS FOR CLAIMANTS AND THE CLASS BE PAID?

22.  WHEN IS THE HEARING TO CONSIDER FINAL APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

23.  I FILED A PROOF OF CLAIM FORM IN THE PRIOR SETTLEMENT WITH RESPONDENTS AMERICAN FINANAICAL SOLOUTIONS (“AFS”) AND NORTH SEATTLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION (“NSCCF”) IN THIS ARBITRATION – DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT ANOTHER PROOF OF CLAIM FORM TO RECEIVE MONEY FROM THE PROOPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

24.  THE CLASS MEMBER LISTED ON THE PROOF OF CLAIM FORM I RECEIVED IN THE MAIL IS DECEASED. CAN I COMPLETE AND SUBMIT A PROOF OF CLIAM TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ON HER/HIS BEHALF?

25. WHY IS THE SETTLEMENT BEING PROPOSED AND SUPPORTED BY CLAIMANTS AND CLASS COUNSEL?

26.  TO WHOM CAN I ASK FURTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?


1. WHAT IS THIS CLASS ARBITRATION ABOUT?

The Complaint filed in this arbitration alleges that Respondents, including National Credit Counseling Services f/k/a Genus Credit Management Corporation (“Genus”) and InCharge Institute of America, Inc. (“ICI”), were directly or indirectly participating in debt management and/or credit counseling operations or were affiliated with companies who did so engage.  The Complaint alleges violations of consumer protection laws based on allegedly false and misleading statements about debt management plans or programs (“DMPs”) created, advertised, sold, administered or serviced by any of the Respondents, including the DMP benefits and claims that DMPs improve credit, credit ratings, credit histories or credit scores without providing required disclosures.  Genus and ICI believe that they acted lawfully at all times, deny that they violated any laws or did anything wrong and contend that they are not liable to the Class.

One Respondent previously settled with the Class and is no longer a part of this arbitration.  That Respondent is American Financial Solutions, a division of North Seattle Community College Foundation.  A new settlement is presently proposed with two additional Respondents, namely Genus and ICI. Back to top

2. WHO ARE THE CLAIMANTS IN THIS ARBITRATION?

The Claimants in an arbitration are the persons who filed this Arbitration for themselves and on behalf of the Class.  They are each former DMP clients of one or more Respondents.  Their names are Laverne Jones, Stacey Ness and Kerry Ness. Back to top

3.  WHO ARE THE RESPONDENTS IN THIS ARBITRATION?

The Respondents in an arbitration are the person or companies against whom the claims are made by the Claimants.  In this Arbitration, there were nine originally-named Respondents.  One of them, American Financial Solutions, a division of North Seattle Community College Foundation, settled all claims against it brought by Claimants and the Class and is no longer a Respondent in this Arbitration.  The presently-proposed settlement is with two additional Respondents in this Arbitration, Genus and ICI.  If the proposed settlement is finally approved, Genus and ICI will no longer be Respondents in this Arbitration.  The remaining five Respondents in this Arbitration have not settled with Claimants and the Class.  This Arbitration will continue against those five Respondents. Back to top

4.  WHAT IS A CLASS ACTION?

In a Class Action, one or more people, called Class Representatives, sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All people with similar claims are called “Class Members.”  An arbitrator or court resolves the issues for all Class Members, unless the Class member requests to be excluded from the case or the settlement.  In this Arbitration, the Claimants are the Class Representatives. Back to top

5.  WHAT IS AN ARBITRATION AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN A LAWSUIT?

An arbitration is like a lawsuit insofar as it presents legal claims and defenses of parties against one another.  Unlike a lawsuit, the place where those claims and defenses are heard and resolved is not a court, but rather a private arbitration forum such as the American Arbitration Association.  Also unlike a lawsuit, an arbitrator rather than a judge or a jury considers the parties’ arguments and renders decisions, orders and awards.  This class action is in the American Arbitration Association before Donald H. Green, Esq. Back to top

6.  WHY DID I RECEIVE A NOTICE OF PARTIAL CLASS ARBITRATION SETTLEMENT IN THE MAIL?

You received a “Notice of Partial Class Arbitration Settlement” (the “Notice”) to advise you that there is a Settlement pending in this class arbitration with Genus and ICI, and because you are eligible to make a claim for a payment of money under the Settlement or request exclusion from the proposed Settlement or comment in favor or in opposition to the proposed Settlement. The Notice outlines your rights with respect to  the proposed Settlement. Back to top

7.  WHERE DID YOU GET MY NAME?

You received a Notice because Respondents’ records identify you as a Class member. Therefore, you are entitled to submit a claim to receive money from the proposed settlement with Genus and ICI if the Settlement is finally approved.  Back to top

8.   HAS THIS ARBITRATION BEEN CERTIFIED AS A CLASS ACTION?

Yes.  On May 7, 2009, the Arbitrator certified this Arbitration as a class action in a Class Determination Award, which award was confirmed by a federal court.  The Class certified by the Arbitrator for Class members who enrolled in a DMP during the Class Period and is defined as follows:

All persons in the United States and its territories who, within the time allowed under the statutes of limitation relevant to the claims certified above, enrolled in a Debt Management Plan or similar program created, advertised, administered or serviced by Respondents or any of them, or any entity sharing common ownership with any Respondent, provided those persons have entered into contracts with arbitration provisions similar to or the same as those entered into by the named class representatives. Back to top

9.  WHAT IS THE CLASS PERIOD?

The Class Period for the proposed Settlement with Genus and ICI runs from January 1, 1998 through May 7, 2009. Back to top

10.   HOW MANY CLASS MEMBERS ARE IN THE CLASS?

There are approximately 470,000 Class members. Back to top

11. WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

Genus and ICI have collectively agreed to pay four million dollars ($4,000,000.00).  In exchange for that payment, Claimants and all Class members who do not request exclusion from the settlement by June 6, 2011, will forever release Genus, ICI and certain related entities from all claims brought in this arbitration and all claims relating to the same asserted wrongful actions.  The Settlement Agreement was signed on March 10, 2011 and has been preliminarily approved by the Arbitrator.  If finally approved, this arbitration will be dismissed as to Genus and ICI and payments will be made to Class members who submit valid claim forms by June 6, 2011.   The complete terms of the settlement, including the releases given to Genus and ICI, are contained in a document entitled “Partial Class Arbitration Settlement Agreement” (the “Settlement Agreement”). The Settlement Agreement has been posted on this website and can be reviewed by any Class member or interested party. Back to top

12.   WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO SHARE IN THE $4,000,000.00 BEING PAID BY GENUS AND ICI AS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?

Any member of the Class is eligible to participate and share in the settlement proceeds that will be paid by Genus and ICI if the proposed settlement is finally approved.  As explained below and in the Notice, to share in settlement proceeds to be paid by Genus and ICI, you must complete and submit a Proof of Claim Form by June 6, 2011. Back to top

13. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO SHARE IN THE SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS BEING PAID BY GENUS AND ICI? 

If you wish to receive your portion of the $4,000,000.00 settlement proceeds to be paid by Genus and ICI, you must mail a completed and signed Proof of Claim Form by June 6, 2011 to Genus Class Arbitration Settlement, c/o Strategic Claims Services, 600 N. Jackson Street, Suite 3, Media, PA 19063.  In lieu of submitting your completed Proof of Claim Form by mail, you may complete and submit a Proof of Claim Form electronically on the settlement website at www.GenusCreditClassArbitrationSettlement.com.  You should only submit a Proof of Claim Form once, in either of approved methods. Back to top

14.  AM I GOING TO GET ANY MONEY FROM THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

If the proposed settlement is finally approved and you are a Class member and complete and submit a Proof of Claim to the Administrator by June 6, 2011, you will receive a cash payment as a result of the settlement. Back to top

15.  HOW MUCH WILL I GET?

All Class members who complete and submit Proof of Claim forms by June 6, 2011 will share equally and pro-rata in the settlement proceeds paid by Genus and ICI ($4,000,000.00), after deductions for attorneys’ fees and expenses approved by the Arbitrator.  The amount of each Class member’s recovery will depend on how many Class members submit Proof of Claim forms and the amount of attorney’s fees and expenses approved by the Arbitrator. Back to top

16. AM I BEING SUED?

No. No Claimant or member of the Class certified by the Arbitrator is being sued in this Arbitration by Respondents. Back to top

17. DO I NEED TO HIRE A LAYWER?

No, the Arbitrator has appointed G. Oliver Koppell & Associates, Tusa P.C., Jack Sando, Esq. and Whalen & Tusa, P.C. as Class Counsel to represent the Class. Back to top

18. DO I HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING TO RECEIVE MONEY FROM THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

No.  You will not be asked to pay any money to anyone, for anything, regardless of whether you participate or file a claim to receive a payment under the proposed settlement with Genus and ICI.  In particular, you will not be asked to pay any money to the attorneys representing Claimants or the Class.  If you choose to hire your own lawyer, you may have to pay him/her, however you are not required to hire your own lawyer to participate or submit a claim to receive a payment under the proposed settlement. Back to top

19. CAN I EXCLUDE MYSELF FROM THE PROPOSED  SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI ENTIRELY?

Yes.  To request exclusion, you must send a letter to the Administrator requesting to be “excluded” from the settlement with Genus and ICI.  The letter must  include the following information:  i) the title of this arbitration:  Jones v. Genus Credit Mgt. Corp.; ii) your full name and address; and iii) your signature; and iv) your Genus DMP account number (if known). Exclusion request must be postmarked by June 6, 2011 to be valid. Back to top

20.  CAN I OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

Yes, if you do not exclude yourself from the proposed settlement with Genus and ICI and did not previously request exclusion from this Arbitration.  Objections to the proposed settlement must be in writing, sent to the Administrator, and include the following information:  i) the title of this arbitration:  Jones v. Genus Credit Mgt. Corp.; ii) your full name and address; iii) your signature or the signature of your legal representative; iv)  your Genus DMP account number (if known); and v) a detailed description of each reason you are objecting to the settlement with Genus and ICI, along with citations to any supporting authorities.  Objections must be postmarked by June 6, 2011 to be valid and considered by the Arbitrator. Back to top

21.  HOW WILL THE ATTORNEYS FOR CLAIMANTS AND THE CLASS BE PAID?

Counsel for the Class and the Claimants will be permitted prior to the June 27, 2011 Fairness Hearing to submit an application to the Arbitrator requesting the payment of attorneys’ fees and the reimbursement of unpaid and reasonable expenses.  They intend to make an application for attorneys’ fees collectively equal to one-third (331/3 %) of the settlement proceeds being paid by Genus and ICI.   The Arbitrator will make the determination as to the amount of attorneys’ fees and reimbursement of costs paid to counsel for Claimants and the Class. Back to top

22.  WHEN IS THE HEARING TO CONSIDER FINAL APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

The Arbitrator will hold a Fairness Hearing at the offices of Pepper Hamilton LLP, 600 14th St. N.W., Washington DC 20005 on June 27, 2011 to decide whether to approve the proposed settlement with Genus and ICI and whether to approve Class Counsel’s and Claimants’ counsel’s requests for the payment attorneys’ fees and costs.  Class members or their attorneys may appear at this hearing, but do not have to.  If you submit a written objection to the settlement with Genus and ICI, the Arbitrator will consider your objection whether or not you attend the Fairness Hearing.   If a Class member or his or her attorney intends to attend the Fairness Hearing, written notice must be provided to the Administrator.  Back to top

23.  I FILED A PROOF OF CLAIM FORM IN THE PRIOR SETTLEMENT WITH RESPONDENTS AMERICAN FINANAICAL SOLOUTIONS (“AFS”) AND NORTH SEATTLE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION (“NSCCF”) IN THIS ARBITRATION – DO I HAVE TO SUBMIT ANOTHER PROOF OF CLAIM FORM TO RECEIVE MONEY FROM THE PROOPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

Yes, you do.  The prior settlement with AFS and NSCCF is entirely separate from the currently proposed settlement with Genus an ICI.  If you have questions about the claim you previously submitted for the settlement with AFS and NSCCF, or about the currently-proposed settlement with Genus and ICI, or the differences among those settlements, please contact the Administrator. Back to top

24.  THE CLASS MEMBER LISTED ON THE PROOF OF CLAIM FORM I RECEIVED IN THE MAIL IS DECEASED. CAN I COMPLETE AND SUBMIT A PROOF OF CLIAM TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ON HER/HIS BEHALF?

Yes, if you are the appointed representative for the Class member’s estate, or, if no representative was appointed by a Court, you are a family member of the deceased Class member.  If you complete and submit a Proof of Claim Form on behalf of a deceased Class member, you may be asked to provide the Administrator with proof of your appointment, or if no documents exist verifying your appointment, a written explanation describing your relationship to the deceased Class member.  Remember that all Proof of Claim forms must be signed by the person who submitted them. Back to top

25. WHY IS THE SETTLEMENT BEING PROPOSED AND SUPPORTED BY CLAIMANTS AND CLASS COUNSEL?

Claimants and Class Counsel believe the settlement is fair and reasonable, have signed the proposed Settlement Agreement and support its final approval.  After nearly seven years of hard-fought arbitration and related litigation, the proposed Settlement assures a $4,000,000.00 recovery from Genus and ICI.  Those Respondents have vigorously disputed Claimants’ allegations of wrongdoing, maintain the lawfulness of their conduct and would have continued to fight the claims made by Claimants and the Class at the final arbitration hearing and likely on appeal.  That process would likely have taken years to resolve and could have resulted in a lower recovery or no recovery at all for Claimants and the Class.  In addition, while Claimants and Class Counsel believe they would have prevailed on their legal claims in this Arbitration, and could have received an award above $4,000,000.00, it was uncertain that a larger award would have been recoverable against Genus and ICI.  Back to top

26.  TO WHOM CAN I ASK FURTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT WITH GENUS AND ICI?

For more information about the proposed Settlement with Genus and ICI, or this arbitration generally, you may call the Administrator toll-free at (888) 349-4110 or visit the settlement website www.GenusCreditClassArbitrationSettlement.com, or visit the page of AAA’s website concerning this arbitration at www.adr.org/sp.asp?id=29365 .  If the Administrator cannot answer your question, they will forward your question to Class Counsel.  Back to top