The Federal Trade Commission teamed up with two states to put an end to five unscrupulous debt collection operations that illegally deceived millions of Americans. The actions, made under the “Operation Collection Protection” initiative between federal, state and local law enforcement authorities, represent $6.5 million in relief for millions of consumers. [More]
Man Charged With Operating Debt Collection Scheme That Targeted, Defrauded Spanish-Speaking Consumers
Deceiving consumers is a trademark for most unscrupulous operations attempting to collect debts that aren’t actually owed. Shady collectors have been known to lie about debts, misrepresent themselves as officers of the law, threaten lawsuits and, in the case of one operator, threaten Spanish-speaking residents with deportation. [More]
Local Official Thinks It’s Uncool To Pay $25 Parking Ticket In Pennies, But Affirms Man’s Right To Do So
A Pennsylvania man who was rebuffed when he tried to pay a $25 parking ticket he owed to his borough entirely in pennies should’ve been able to use those coins, a local official said, but really, it was kind of rude for him to do so.
Since 2005, student borrowers have been unable to discharge their private student loans through the process of bankruptcy. But that could soon change after a group of 12 senators introduced a bill aimed at addressing the current student debt crisis by restoring the bankruptcy code to hold private student loans in the same regard as other private unsecured debts. [More]
Federal and state regulators are continually trying to crack down on debt collectors who use unsavory, illegal tactics to make consumers pay up. But some ethically questionable collectors are operating under the regulatory radar because they collect debts for the government. [More]
What a lot of people don’t know — and what debt collectors rarely mention — is that most unpaid debt has an expiration date after which you can’t be sued for repayment. And even fewer consumers are aware that this dead debt can be sparked back to life by making a payment after it’s already passed on to the debt afterlife. A new report calls on federal regulators to make sure that debt doesn’t rise from the dead in zombie form. [More]
Every state has some level of protection for debtors so that they are able to continue living and working while repaying their debts. But the level of protection covers the spectrum from protecting reasonably priced homes, vehicles, and necessary goods, to protections so minimal that the debtors will likely remain in the red, unable to ever climb out of debt. [More]
One of the first thing you’ll want to check when you get a debt collection notice is the expiration date. No, it won’t be written on the top like a milk carton. But you can check to see when the debt is from. If it’s longer than your state’s statue of limitations on debt collections, they’re unlikely to successfully sue you. Those dates vary by state, so here’s a handy list that gets routinely updated.
Call it “theater of the real.” A debt collection firm is accused of setting up a fake courtroom, complete with a raised “bench” and judge in black and other decorations and furniture, to trick and holding bogus hearings to extract payment from debtors.
An increasing tool of choice for collection agencies is getting folks thrown in jail for missing “financial assessment hearings,” even when the folks had good reason – like moving and never getting the letter – or the validity of the debt is in dispute. In addition, collectors are requesting forfeited bail to pay off judgement, turning our local jails into de facto debtor’s prisons, and the police into deputized debt collection agents. Now regulators and officials are taking notice, and taking action to curb some of the worst abuses.
Kentaro already went through a dispute resolution with PayPal for an HTC Droid Eris he sold on eBay. He says the reason for the dispute no longer exists, and anyway, he won and that was supposed to be the end of it. But now he owes $287, according to PayPal.
A man in New Mexico is suing Verizon Wireless over a series of harassing phone calls made by Verizon bill collectors last year. The man, Al Burrows, says the calls were concerning a relative’s unpaid cellphone bill. When he hung up on one of them, the disconnected Verizon rep called back, said she knew where Burrows lived, and added, “I am gonna blow your mother fucking house up.”
Last week, a Brooklyn judge
ordered strongly suggested that the law firm of Pressler & Pressler, “one of the biggest in the collection industry,” pay a day’s worth of income to the man they falsely accused of owing an unpaid debt. To encourage the firm to do the right thing, Judge Noach Dear scheduled a sanctions hearing but told the firm’s lawyer, T. Andy Wang, that he might drop it if they pay up.
We’re all about to see more money in our paychecks thanks to lower payroll taxes, but if you want to use the savings to payoff your student loans, you better act on the one day that Citibank will take your money. At least that’s what Citibank told reader Valori, who tried sending the bank a check with instructions to apply it towards the principal on her student loans. The bank instead applied it to her usual monthly payment and told her that the only way to pay down her principal was to “setup an automatic payment on the Citibank website to debit on the same day as [the] automatic payment is direct debited.” Does that seem easy to anyone?
Money can ruin relationships, but by talking honestly about finances with your significant other, you just might emerge from this depressing recession as a couple. Even if your finances are deteriorating, there are a few ways to keep your money problems from rotting your relationship.
The IRS has ended a controversial program that allowed private debt collectors to pursue individual debts owed to the government. The private debt collectors, described as “bounty hunters who collect taxes from vulnerable people for profit,” were allowed to keep 25% of any collected debts for themselves. Before we celebrate, let’s all take a moment to join Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa in thinking about those poor private debt collectors who no longer have jobs harassing and abusing people…