Jump to content

Let's see if we can change the law.


Recommended Posts

Maybe I'm crazy, but I would like to see a grass roots type movement to amend the FDCPA.

The two areas I would like to see changes in, are the communications and the penalty's.

First, I would like to amend so that a limited C&D would be possible. To clarify, telling the CA/JDB no more phone calls but letters are OK. Some folks do want contact to settle or what ever but don't want to be deluged with calls as the scum do now.

Second, Maybe back in the day a 1000 dollar fine had some teeth to it, not anymore. If someone alleges that you owe 10,000 or more, they are and have been violating. I believe they feel it is worth the risk if they can scare someone into paying and the only downside is they lose 1500 or so on a debt they probably bought for pennies. It would be an acceptable risk business wise. Let's try to change the language so that it's a 1000 per violation proved. They could still whine bona-fide error, but multiple violations would then negate that and make willful violations all the worse for them.

Of course the honest above board collectors have nothing to fear as they are not violating willfully.

So the big hairy idea I've hatched is for as many of us as can, write to your U.S. Congressmen and ask them to draft a bill or support who ever does it first. Hopefully enough of us can get 'er done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its a good time for a change with the sub prime melt down and the banks raising rates for no good reasons and as the feds cut rates.

I agree the laws need to have some big teeth!

I would like to see a standard of reporting made into law.The industry standard now means nothing and no one really follows it.

They FTC has said dofd is when the seven years starts but I just got response to my dispute from EQ,TU and EX that says the date of last activity is when it starts. twice in the same letter with EQ. when I called the CRA's and told them what the FTC has said and what the CDIA says is industry standard they act like they could care less and hold to the Date of last activity. When I threaten to sue they say do what you must. So I will but as you said if I win whats a $1000.00 bucks to them just a cost of business and they will wright it off anyways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I realize that it may not be the popular sentiment around here, but I'd rather take all the time and energy I'd need to put into getting the laws changed and instead put it into fixing my personal credit using the existing law... then make damn sure I never end up in this position again.

I've learned a tremendous amount in the past six months from all the wonderful people here. Quite frankly though, I can't wait to get to the point where I forget everything I've learned and move on with my life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shortbus, Have you ever been in a union?

While I support your position, I still do care about who's next.

If you have ever had a union job, you can thank those folks who came before you, who fought for the pay and benefits you enjoy/ed. Some lost pay or froze in some cases walking the picket line.

Don't you think your children or theirs would thank you for the effort you put in today.

No doubt you will council them and prevent their falling into any financial traps, but what about the people they marry?

The FDCPA and FCRA are there for you today. How would your credit repair be going if they were not?

I thank the people that lobbied for them then, even though they are dead or don't need the protection today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like I remember a letter writing campaign that started on AOC many years ago. The problem is that there are so many worse problems that politicians face these days. The people in our little corner of cyberspace that have a passion for consumer law represent only a minuscule fraction of Americans.

One positive way to look at it is that we really are big fish in a small pond. You look at online court records and see all the thousands of default judgments for any given CA and then your lone case where you defended yourself, and it gets put in perspective.

You can also look at the silly complaints on ripoffreport and the like and see that the vast majority of consumers still don't really know what to do to protect themselves. They can only complain after it's too late.

The $1,000 per violation from 1976 (or whenever) really hasn't kept up with inflation, which is why a lot of us go for FCRA violations as well, which are per violation to each CRA for each month.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No doubt that your suggestions would be beneficial to a lot of people. It's going to be a tough sell though. The vast majority of people illegally hounded have never even heard of the FDCPA, much less does it occur to them to demand greater protection. I'd like to consider myself somewhat educated and it surprised me to learn that that there was such a law.

Also... if you could get the word out, there are two other important things to overcome: a) These people are too busy trying to stay above water to engage in political action and B) there is a huge amount of shame attached to having credit problems. How many people are going to stand up and identify themselves as an overextended debtor?

It would be interesting to learn the history of the FDCPA though... Apparently somehow that came to be passed despite my nay-saying. (Though it was during the Carter administration, before credit cards were handed out like candy on Halloween. The consumer credit environment has changed considerably since then.)

Yes, I was once briefly part of a union. Being from Detroit, I also have a considerable amount of family that is unionized. While I do recognize the historical importance of unions, I feel that their cons outweigh the pros in today's economy. But I don't really want to threadjack you with a debate about unions, so I'll leave it at that. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FCRA is the big money. You can nail both the CRA's and the data furnishers for each month on each report they report incorrectly. FACTA made it kind of harder for consumers because if you do see a mistake, you have to tell them what it is, but when they ignore you, then it's a willful violation and you can go after them for punitive damages as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do want to say something about personal responsibility. Maybe some of the time and effort could be spent telling people to not enter into financial deals they know they cannot pay.

The whole subprime mess is partly due to people who signed papers they did not understood or cared to understand. They were just going on the emotion of owning a piece of the American dream.

Also, what about credit card debt. While credit cards are necessary, I think most people know in their minds when they've crossed their personal limits. If you know you never have more than $100 per month to give to credit cards, then don't charge up thousands of dollars. You know your minimum payment will go up accordingly.

Yes, people have lost jobs and have had medical issues that contributed to them getting behind on their bills. But a lot of debt is just due to irresponsible behavior.

The CAs should follow the law. But if you don't want a CA on your back, then just pay your bills or don't get into debt in the first place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually would go further…

Other than our own lack of control, lack of personal financial responsibility and our desire to live beyond our means because we “deserve it” (even if we can’t afford it); there is no reason why the overwhelming majority of people who live in this country cannot live without debt and if we did live without debt, most of these “problems” would cease to exist.

For 98% of us, the problems with Collection Agencies and Credit Reporting Bureaus can all be traced back to our own actions or inactions months or years before. I say that knowing that I am as guilty as the next but I would like to think that I have learned that debt is NEVER a blessing regardless of what form it takes.

That aside, while I would agree that the FDCPA could use some freshening, consumers already have the tools necessary to protect and enforce their rights if they are willing to do so. CAs and CRAs are willing to violate existing law because they know that the overwhelming majority of people will never take the steps necessary to force their compliance – new/additional laws will never change that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The $1,000 per violation from 1976 (or whenever) really hasn't kept up with inflation, which is why a lot of us go for FCRA violations as well, which are per violation to each CRA for each month.

Yes please elaborate more on this.....this is what i was seeking in my other post.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A law that I would like to see get passed is to make it illegal for companies to sell old debts and eliminate JDB's

I realize such a law "sounds" good but the reality is that junk debt buyers aren't the problem - the problem is the consumers let debts become junk debts.

If we really want that kind of "big brother" government intrusion in our lives; perhaps we shoudl just make ALL consumer debt illegal and force people to only buy what they can actually afford! :hmm:

Actually, for most of this country's history, that's exactly how people lived without the government telling them they had to - thy just knew debt was dumb.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A law that I would like to see get passed is to make it illegal for companies to sell old debts and eliminate JDB's

WORD.

Bye-bye FDCPA. You’re the OC you have two choices, write it off or try to collect. Once written off it is non-negotiable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WORD.

Bye-bye FDCPA. You’re the OC you have two choices, write it off or try to collect. Once written off it is non-negotiable.

I think you misunderstand what “writing off” a debt means for a business.

However, doing as you suggest would be a back-door way of accomplishing what I suggested above…there would be no need to make consumer debt illegal because the vast majority of consumer debt would stop in its tracks if the credit grantors had only the options you are suggesting…they would grant credit only to a tiny percentage of those to whom they lend today!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you misunderstand what “writing off” a debt means for a business.

I am guessing they are writing it off on their taxes and getting a deduction on taxes owed, due to it being uncollectable?

Then they sell it. Maybe they need to claim the sale amount as income, but if the JDB then collects the full amount does the OC have to adjust the claim?

However, doing as you suggest would be a back-door way of accomplishing what I suggested above…there would be no need to make consumer debt illegal because the vast majority of consumer debt would stop in its tracks if the credit grantors had only the options you are suggesting…they would grant credit only to a tiny percentage of those to whom they lend today!

I disagree. JDB are exactly the problem. If they weren’t a problem, why the FDCPA, which pretty much specifically applies to JDB? The fact that the FDCPA even exists proves there are problems with JDB.

What to eliminate the problem, eliminate the JDB. Make the OC the only one who can take legal action for a debt.

Sure OC's will probably take more responsibility in who they extend credit and less people will get credit, forcing those who are less credit worthy to not get credit or clean up their act. Hence, in the end people will be forced to take responsibility, which is what I think you are getting at.

because the vast majority of consumer debt would stop in its tracks if the credit grantors had only the options you are suggesting…

I think you are greatly over stating this. No it wouldn't. Credit would still be big business and creditors would just hire companies to collect its own bad paper, rather then having the bad paper sold over and over. The creditors would easy adjust to not being able to sell bad paper. The only effect it would have as I stated above is that creditors will be less likely to give out credit. So what, that is a good thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am guessing they are writing it off on their taxes and getting a deduction on taxes owed, due to it being uncollectable?

Then they sell it. Maybe they need to claim the sale amount as income, but if the JDB then collects the full amount does the OC have to adjust the claim?

The best a company can do when they write off a bad debt is to break even on taxes and their loss is generally significant. Writing off a debt is an accounting entry; nothing more and they DON’T HAVE A CHOICE in whether they write off a debt or not; trying to claim a debt should not longer be owed because of that is, frankly, a bit ridiculous.

There is nothing for the OC to adjust - when an original creditor sells a debt, they are completely out of the picture; they’ve already recognized their loss less whatever they got for the sale of the debt – if the buyer of the bad debt eventually collects, that buyer must recognize whatever they collect (above their cost) as income.

I disagree. JDB are exactly the problem. If they weren’t a problem, why the FDCPA, which pretty much specifically applies to JDB? The fact that the FDCPA even exists proves there are problems with JDB.

What to eliminate the problem, eliminate the JDB. Make the OC the only one who can take legal action for a debt.

The JDBs are the problem only for those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions – how do you think the debts the JDBs are buying came to exist???

I’m not suggesting that CAs and JDBs don’t engage in disgusting and illegal behavior but the REAL cause (the problem) are consumers who do not pay their debts. If people paid their debts (or better yet, never took them out in the first place), there would be no CAs and there COULD NOT BE JDBs because there would be no bad debts to collect or any that could be sold to a third-party.

Sure OC's will probably take more responsibility in who they extend credit and less people will get credit, forcing those who are less credit worthy to not get credit or clean up their act. Hence, in the end people will be forced to take responsibility, which is what I think you are getting at.

I think you are greatly over stating this. No it wouldn't. Credit would still be big business and creditors would just hire companies to collect its own bad paper, rather then having the bad paper sold over and over. The creditors would easy adjust to not being able to sell bad paper. The only effect it would have as I stated above is that creditors will be less likely to give out credit. So what, that is a good thing.

You are right in that it’s likely there will always be bottom-feeder lenders (pay-day loans, buy-here-pay-here, secured CC and their ilk) who prey on the desperate and the ill-informed (or those who simply refuse to consider the real cost of their borrowing) but I guarantee you that if lenders HAD to do their own collecting, they would be EXTREEMLY selective about who they lent money to – only those with a proven record of handling debt properly and considered an extremely good risk would be able to borrow (which is probably as it should be).

Want to eliminate the problem – don’t go into debt.

Or stated another way, if you don’t like the destination - don’t sign up for the trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm crazy, but I would like to see a grass roots type movement to amend the FDCPA.

Contact your congressman and senators. let them know how you feel. Do so in a personally written letter. When congress is on recess, see if you can set up an appointment to see them directly.

CL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Want to eliminate the problem – don’t go into debt.

Or stated another way, if you don’t like the destination - don’t sign up for the trip.

I agree with this logic, I also feel the same logic should be put on creditors.

Let them know this is how it's going to work when extending credit:

You are taking a risk by extending credit. (Someone may not pay it back) You are rewarded`for taking said risk. (Interest)

If someone doesn't pay, YOU or YOUR designee takes them to court to collect, PERIOD.

If you CHOOSE not to take court action on your own, you may write off the debt on your taxes, etc. (If it's still a loss, it's still a loss, but it's up to you, try to collect or write it off)

You can not sell the debt to someone else for pennies on the dollar.

The creditors now know the "destination" - if they don't like it they "don’t sign up for the trip."

Your argument (If I am reading correctly) is that should the creditors be faced with the above options they will no longer sign up for the trip. To that, I disagree, I say they will. Perhaps they are more selective about who they give credit to. (A good thing) Perhaps they make tighter contracts where they get attorney fees should a person default. (A good thing, if you don't default) Perhaps they keep better records. (A good thing)

But I think that your whole notion that the world of credit grantors will somehow come crashing down and shatter the financial industry if creditors are prohibited from selling bad debt is HOGWASH! IMHO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with this logic, I also feel the same logic should be put on creditors.

Let them know this is how it's going to work when extending credit:

You are taking a risk by extending credit. (Someone may not pay it back) You are rewarded`for taking said risk. (Interest)

If someone doesn't pay, YOU or YOUR designee takes them to court to collect, PERIOD.

If you CHOOSE not to take court action on your own, you may write off the debt on your taxes, etc. (If it's still a loss, it's still a loss, but it's up to you, try to collect or write it off)

You can not sell the debt to someone else for pennies on the dollar.

The creditors now know the "destination" - if they don't like it they "don’t sign up for the trip."

Your argument (If I am reading correctly) is that should the creditors be faced with the above options they will no longer sign up for the trip. To that, I disagree, I say they will. Perhaps they are more selective about who they give credit to. (A good thing) Perhaps they make tighter contracts where they get attorney fees should a person default. (A good thing, if you don't default) Perhaps they keep better records. (A good thing)

But I think that your whole notion that the world of credit grantors will somehow come crashing down and shatter the financial industry if creditors are prohibited from selling bad debt is HOGWASH! IMHO.

I think we have two major points of disagreement...

One is the "write off or colelct" option - I don't think you understand that a business is REQUIRED to write off bad debts; they don't have an "option" of not doing so...as long as that is the case then you can't concurrently tell a business they have an option to write-off or collect wheh they have no such option and businesses must writ-off debts to have viable/realistic financial statements.

Second point of disagreement is what your new rules would do to the lending industry - right now, without any government intervention; credit has been severly curtailed even for fairly good buyers; the housing industry and auto industry are feeling the effects every day.

Admitted; this will be a temporary (although no one knows for how long) situation but it does show how a relatively minor problem with a small group of borrowers can baloon into and significant tightening of credit for many...it is foolish, I think, to believe that the changes you propose would not have a significant impact on how much consumer credit would be available...many potential credit grantors WOULD be afraid of the destination and choose not to take the trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting discussion.

My 2 cents:

I believe (some) people do need to take more personal responsibility for their credit decisions. And if and when they do (did), there WOULD be far less "need" for JDBs. But JDBs are not "the problem", merely a symptom; they are only filling a need. They should be tightly regulated and not allowed to “abuse” debtors.

Credit has ALWAYS been part of this country. Even in "the old days". To try to "force" people to only buy "what they can actually afford" through new laws or different legislation is absurd. One example: No one could buy a home until they had saved up the $200,000 + to buy it without using credit/debit. Buy the time many people could actually save that much money, they probably would need it for a retirement home. And during the time they were saving up they would be "forced" to be renters (with all the joy that brings), unable to build wealth via the tax and appreciation benefits of owning real estate

As far as lenders and risk, most of what has been said here is obvious, with all due respect. Lenders already KNOW the risks of lending. I think, as was pointed out, that it's SOME BORROWERS that fail to recognize the risks of borrowing and get THEMSELVES into situations where they are overextended then default on their legal obligations. But many responsible people can get into trouble through circumstances beyond their control; i.e. a catastrophic accident or illness, natural disaster, layoff or downsizing etc...

I believe responsible credit practices/habits are either taught to you early on in life OR learned later on after a measured amount of pain. But not all bad debt is of one's own doing.

As far as who is trying to collect on a debt, I don't see the difference between a JDB and the OC. They should both be (and are) required to abide by applicable law, and when they don't they should suffer the perscribed penalties.

Actually, if a JDB buys a debt for pennies on the dollar, it would seem logical that they would be willing to settle (the LEGITIMATE) debt for far less than was originally owed, and in the end everybody wins. (Except those that pay higher interest rates to cover the cost of the losses of these bad debts, of course.)

I do beleive the current consumer laws were watered way to far down buy the Credit/Banking Industries Lobbiest's before they were passed. It shouldn't be so frigging hard and time consuming to "fix" legitimate errors in one's own CR!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your recollection of history is a bit short.

Consume debt in this country is very much a modern invention – I’m old enough to remember TV commercials from HSC that went something like this…

Well dressed 30-something man looking around sheepishly – looking for anyone that might see him…quietly, he tiptoes into a store-front office with an opaque glass door with the letters on the front that simply say “Loan Company”…thinking he got in without being seen, he closed the door a bit hard and the glass breaks drawing the “looks” of passer-bys he was hoping to avoid and he is obviously embarrassed about going into a loan company to, apparently, ask for a loan.

HSC then proudly proclaims that people don’t need to fee embarrasses anymore about getting a loan!

It was about that time (I’m talking early to mid ‘60’s here) that the very first MasterCard (followed by BankAmericard (i.e. Visa) started to be issued to people.

Consumer mortgages have been around quilt a while longer than other types of debt but prior to the ’60s, people actually paid CASH for what they wanted and if they didn’t have the money they didn’t buy it. Most debt was limited to business/commercial accounts.

You can live without debt and lots of people do – that fact that doing so is considered weird today is a testament to the overwhelming success of the lending industry which spends billions of dollars each year to convince us that we can’t live without it.

Nor have they been very discriminating in who they lent to…there are thousands of instances of pets, children and dead people who have been issued credit cards and while they may do a lot less of that these days, their criteria for granting most credit is dangerously low.

I agree that most people do manage to pay their debts but even so, America is drowning in debt – whether you keep to your payment schedules of not, the fact is that NOTHING robs your ability to build wealth than does debt and compound interest paid to someone else rather than paid to ourselves.

ANYONE in this country of remotely average intelligence and remotely average motivation could retire a millionaire if they only learned the simple lesson of compound interest and stopped sending all their money to other people. Sadly, most people will either retire with nothing or never retire because they can’t afford to.

I do wish people were learning the lessons of responsible credit habits/practices but I wonder how many actually do....I can’t help but be concerned seeing how many people come here for help (I suppose because debt has been such a blessing in their lives up to this point) and all they can think about is how they can get their next loan, next CC, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose I should say something since I started it.

Those CA/JDB's that follow the law would have nothing to fear from my proposed amendments. So they and anyone else should have no beef with the idea, unless of course they WANT to violate with impunity. Those are the scumbags I want to target.

Whatever the reason for one going into debt is moot in my mind. It was a business transaction. To be threatened with bodily harm, illegal garnishment, called multiple times a day, sent fake process, browbeat over the phone being cursed at in process, should not happen. It's business, the violating CA/JDB seems to think it's personal, or at least gives that impression when these things go on.

That behavior has to stop, as for the debt, sell it, trade it, collect it, or throw it away, doesn't matter. Just play by the rules.

I do intend to contact my Representative, all I was asking was for like minded folks to do the same. It's a numbers game just like credit and debt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose I should say something since I started it.

Those CA/JDB's that follow the law would have nothing to fear from my proposed amendments. So they and anyone else should have no beef with the idea, unless of course they WANT to violate with impunity. Those are the scumbags I want to target.

Whatever the reason for one going into debt is moot in my mind. It was a business transaction. To be threatened with bodily harm, illegal garnishment, called multiple times a day, sent fake process, browbeat over the phone being cursed at in process, should not happen. It's business, the violating CA/JDB seems to think it's personal, or at least gives that impression when these things go on.

That behavior has to stop, as for the debt, sell it, trade it, collect it, or throw it away, doesn't matter. Just play by the rules.

I do intend to contact my Representative, all I was asking was for like minded folks to do the same. It's a numbers game just like credit and debt.

It's probably good you brought the discussion back on track.

I still believe, however, that those intent on violating the law will continue to do so and that we already have the tools necessary to protect ourselves...the problem is that too few know their rights or are willing to do what is necessary to enforce them. Until THAT changes, more laws and/or bigger penalties will not turn the tide. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the laws that already exist protect people but they just don't know it, start a grassroots campaign and create a video for youtube.

Forward everyone back to this site or others that teach this stuff.

Have a post that lists all the states email contact info for consumer debt law and have everyone start with their own state about it.

Last weekend, some cop messed with some protester. People posted it on youtube and then posted email addresses. Millions of people sent emails to all the public officials in that area.

I think there is a bigger problem with people and credit and that there would be millions jump on board something like that.

As for the credit card companies barely breaking even when they write off a debt....................I just want to say, in what universe???!!!!!

I looked at every debt I had and the payments I'd made. For example, they give you $1000 in credit. If you get even a little behind they increase your interest rate and charge flat rate past due fees. Of the $1000 they ever gave me, I paid back over $3000 in the course of a few months Then they write it off, get tax benefit for it, sell it to someone else and make more money. They have already more than tripled their money and yet they can still come after me.

Yes, I agreed to the terms, I understand all that. I'm just saying, don't make it out like the credit card companies are losing anything at all because they are not.

Also, I think that since your credit score these days affects every single part of your life, there should be a lot more "bite" in non-compliance on the part of the CRA's and their total mess of a system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.