Newsweek Debt Collector Expose Very Revealing

In the current issue of Newsweek, author Gary Rivlin (@grivlin) does a superb job peeling back the curtain and allowing the world to see what really happens behind the scenes in many debt collection operations.

His primary source, Alexis Moore, shares her disturbing first hand account of life as a “desperate for a paycheck”, debt collector. She remarked that “every day I was on the job, I was asked to break the law.” This is because her supervisors overtly forced her to break laws (and rules of decent human civility), if she wanted to keep her job.

Some may argue that she should have just quit. Likely those that would have Alexis tell her boss to “take this job and shove it” have never been a paycheck away from homelessness.

That’s one of the cruel ironies of debt collection abuse. Those doing the abusing are often in desperate situations themselves – financially, or with health issues like drug addiction. Because of their precarious personal situations, they are easily manipulated to do the bidding of deceitful operators.

Some examples of collection practice abuses shared in Mr. Rivlin’s riveting Newsweek story include:

  • When someone would hang up, calling back immediately –  time after time – until the person answered.
  • Informing 3rd parties (this is illegal) such as parents, relatives and neighbors about the money owed and enlisting their support in collections
  • Asking neighbors to pin notes on the debtors door, telling them the collector called and that they owe the money
  • Threaten foreigners with deportation
  • Use vulgarities, like the “F” word, to threaten and intimidate

Unfortunately, the solution is more complex than “there oughta be a law.” There are already plenty of laws, they’re just not policed anywhere near well enough. The real solution is on the supply side. Get banks stop selling their delinquent debt to collection firms who use lawsuits, and other coercive measures to collect, and this abuse of our neediest citizens will stop almost overnight.

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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Public Employees Being Used to Collect on Private Debt in Illinois

Yesterday I was invited to testify at an Illinois public hearing on Debtors’ Prisons, which were banned by law, but have insidiously surfaced as debt collection firms use state troopers, security bonds and the penitentiary system  to extract payment.

To their credit, state officials have identified the problem and are working to put an end to this egregious and un-American practice.

You can read about my testimony and what is happening to real live citizens of Illinois in this article and in this tv news report.

Prepare to be outraged. 

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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How Bankers Can Protect Consumers Better Than Legislation Ever Could

 

Bankers have become popular whipping posts of the media and consumers in our post financial collapse world.

While some of the outrage is well earned, a good portion is the result of sharks they have allowed to take over their financial services pond.

Case in point – debt collection firms.

Because banks sell their severely delinquent debt to debt collection firms for pennies on the dollar, they have gotten in bed with companies who standard operating procedure is to make these bank customers live’s a living hell. Their torment includes: harassing phone calls, unethical tricks, intimidation and lawsuits.

While some attorney generals across the country are working hard crack down — notably Lori Swanson (MN), Roy Cooper (NC),  Greg Abbot (TX), Lisa Madigan (IL), Martha Coakley (MA) and Darrell McGraw (WV) — banks could single-handedly put an end to the abuse without a single piece of legislation needing to be passed.

How? By agreeing to only sell their delinquent debt to firms who have agreed to abide by the honorable debt collector pledge. The key elements of the pledge include:

1. To never attempt any collection effort on any credit card debt that is beyond the statute of limitation.

2. To never file a lawsuit for collection of credit card debt.

3. To never charge interest on a credit card debt that was charged off by the original issuer.

4. To never attempt to contact the consumer regarding credit card debt by telephone more than two times in any one 24-hour period.

5. To never resell credit card accounts to anyone who has not signed this Pledge.

To date 216 debt collection firms have signed this pledged and agreed to abide by it’s principles. If banks used their clout to pressure debt collectors to do the right thing, consumers would find their lives changed practically overnight… No legislation necessary.

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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Presidential Courage on Display – Obama Puts People Over Politics with CFPB Director Recess Appointment

 

I’m impressed with President Obama.

Truth be told, I had privately doubted his mettle. In what is surely going to be a political hot potato for the upcoming campaign, he has managed to completely change my mind today  by announcing the recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). My doubts have been erased.

To understand the murky ground he’s treading with this move read this breaking article from BusinessWeek.

This decision opens another political “front” he, Harry Reid and his colleagues in the Senate will need to defend. This they certainly don’t need or want, with control of the Senate very much in jeopardy. But there are times when REAL people are REALLY hurting and action needs to be taken, political consequences be damned.

This was one of those times.

Without a director, the CFPB was a toothless agency, unable to regulate (read: protect) the non-bank financial institutions that the neediest among us depend on as their financial lifeline.

And, it wouldn’t shock me, if Senator Reid wasn’t either behind this move, or was Obama’s enthusiastic compatriot.

Legal battles over the legitimacy of this appointment will no doubt ensue. But, at least while the slow wheels of justice grind on, Mr. Cordray will be hard at work, doing a job he is eminently qualified to perform.

Well done Mr. President.

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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EXPOSED – A Collection Trick That LEGALLY Revives Expired Debts

Sophisticated debt collectors are exploiting a legal loophole that allows them to extract payments, interest and penalties on consumer debt that had previously expired, due to state statute of limitations.

Here’s how the trick works:

  1. The debt collection firm forms a partnership with a bank, giving it access to the banks licensing agreement with credit card issuers like Mastercard.
  2. Debt collector offers new credit cards to consumers with expired debt that they are no longer legally obligated to pay on.
  3. In the fine print of the credit card, it explains that the payments are, in part, to be applied to the previously expired debt.
  4. Then, if the consumer makes even one small payment on their “new” credit card, they legally become obligated to at least some portion of the old debt they were no longer legally responsible for, prior to the credit card.
  5. This restarts the statute of limitations on the debt all over again (a process called “re-aging”) and allow debt collectors to use the legal system to sue consumers in order to collect.

This practice is documented in a well researched article by Jessica Silver-Greenberg of the Wall Street Journal.

No doubt debt collectors will hide behind the plausible excuse that they are providing a valuable service extending credit to sub-prime borrowers who might not otherwise have access to credit. Before the Nobel committee rewards them for their humanitarian efforts, I’d check and see if they’d be willing to provide this service with the old, expired debt out of the equation.

I’m not holding my breath.

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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USA TODAY Reports “First Time Senate Blocks Appointment to Shut Down Agency”

Today, the USA TODAY gave indepth details about how a political strategy blocked a president’s appointment in an effort to effectively shut down a full fledged government agency. In this case, it was President Obama’s appointment of the deserving Richard Cordray and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

 

Read the full story here: http://usat.ly/s7S6Vb

 

The irony runs deep as the Dodd-Frank bill (which legislated the creation of the CFPB) was passed in the Senate by a filibuster proof 60-39 vote. What was a good idea during a time of white-hot public scrutiny of financial misdeeds, is apparently not such a great idea when there is an opportunity to make the opposition look bad in an election year.

For more information on this topic and upcoming events surrounding the CFPB and the appointment of its leader, check back on our blog and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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Changing the Face of Debt Collection (LITERALLY!)

Sometimes a picture (or video) really is worth a thousand words.

Contrast this image of a leading debt collectors operation…


With this video of CFS II …



And then ask one question: Which operation do you think is REALLY reinventing the collection process and truly treating those in debt with kindness and respect?

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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The Holiday Season & Credit Cards

Tis the season for credit card scams and overuse.

 

Some good advice to follow here from my interview with Young Money and here with the Denver Post.

 

This year, with so many people hurting, let’s encourage restraint and REAL connection. Restraint in spending, meaning don’t stretch and spend beyond your current means. Those January bills can be quite sobering. And in place of materialism this year, let’s instead really attempt to CONNECT with our loved ones.

 

The best gifts I’ve ever been given literally cost nothing. The power of giving of ones time and expression of our sincerest thoughts and gratitude will always be much more poignant to others than material “things.”

 

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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The Return of Debtors Prison in Illinois

 

Debtors prison’s were long outlawed but, in 2011, 241 people amazingly were sent to jail in Illinois for issues related to unpaid debts.

 

This story of how unemployed waitress Cindy James was sent to jail for unpaid debts after a routine traffic violation is illustrative of a system out of control and in desperate need of reform.

This is another reason for you to join us and sign our petition to bring to Washington. We need to reform the debt collection industry before it keeps spinning out of control!

 

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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Consumers Avoid “Robo-call” Deluge Thanks to Attorneys General Action

 

 

 

My hat is off to Indiana Attorney General, Greg Zoeller,(@INATTYGENERAL)and his fellow Attorneys General who pressured Congress to dump the “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011” that would have permitted automated “robo” calls to cell phones.

Automated dialing technology is not inherently evil, however, if this law had passed, the only interaction many consumers would have with it would be getting regularly bombarded by faceless debt collector automated calls. This is not something the neediest in our society should have to deal with.

Bill

Hi, I'm Bill Bartmann and I am on a mission to reform the debt collection industry in America. Please join with me as we bring a petition to Washington D.C., and make Congress close all the legal loopholes in debt collection practices. It's time to stop these debt collection abuses and stop these criminals. Join with me! Sign the petition today! http://stopthesecriminals.com/petition

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