Good article in the FWST about the rise in lawsuits filed by debt collectors, a concern I expressed a few blog entries ago. Key points to remember: Don’t ignore debt collection efforts (especially letters and anything nailed to your door while you’re at work) and be ready to challenge the debt collector’s documentation of the debt. Often these groups buy debts from the original creditors and the paperwork necessary to establish the debt (the original credit card agreement and so forth) doesn’t make it from the creditor to the collector. In the three or four such cases I’ve handled for friends, I have yet to see one that had the evidence necessary to prevail at trial. But the debtor has to stand up and challenge the suit, or else face a default judgment (in which case the collector can get a judgment against the creditor despite not having all the necessary paperwork to back up the debt).
On a similar note, write your elected officials (state and federal) about the abuses heaped upon average consumers by the banking and lending institutions. Grandma’s utility bills go up and she falls a couple of months behind on paying off that new dishwasher from Sears, and suddenly she finds herself a defendant in a collection suit. That ain’t right.