Fifty years ago, Congress created the federal loan program as a way to help Americans realize their dreams of a better life through higher education. While millions of students have no doubt benefited from the program, millions of others have found themselves burdened by mountains of debts, fielding calls from debt collectors and loan servicers, and watching as their paychecks are whittled down by garnishments. Today, seven million former college students are in default with a record $115 billion in federal loans. While those figures may be oppressing borrowers, it’s providing a stream of income – and profit – for companies contracted by the government to collect payments from debtors. [More]
While some debt collectors have resorted to questionable and sometimes illegal practices, there are also legal routes to debt collection — like lawsuits and wage garnishment — that can nonetheless have a destructive effect, particularly in low-income, minority neighborhoods. [More]
Last month, the Minnesota Attorney General brought an oppressive arbitration regime to its knees. Nation Arbitration Forum handled over 200,000 arbitrations per year. But many of those cases will end up in the 50 states’ district courts, where consumers may fare no better.
Several major advertising trade groups announced yesterday that starting in 2010, they will implement a new set of self-imposed guidelines on how they collect and use your personal info, in an attempt to prevent the government from handing down federal regulations.
The New York Attorney General shut down a network of debt collection agencies today that were run by convicted felon Tobias Boyland, who along with his colleagues impersonated police officers, threatened debtors with arrest, and told them they were being sued in civil court. Boyland is also an author and a musician, and he has an awesome website, bagsofmoney.us, which—warning—launches into a street-friendly rap song as soon as it loads.
Tim’s neighbor received a call from VW Credit asking her to walk across the street and leave a note on her neighbors’ front door and VW Bug asking them to call back their creditor. Calls like these are known as block parties, and they are a direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.