District of Columbia
Statement of Policy Regarding Communications in Connection with Collection of a Decedent’s Debt, Project No. P104806
For many years, credit card companies have been frustrated by their inability to collect every single dime of their dead cardholders’ remaining debt, so they designed money-generating strategies to preemptively collect as much of the debt as possible by charging ever-higher interest rates allowed by law, and adding additional nuisance fees while trying to foist new “services” and “premium gifts” on the cardholders. Now, suddenly after these years, the FTC is proposing a method to coerce the survivors of the deceased cardholder to pay off their relative’s remaining debt, however they can, whether the deceased died penniless or with any estate at all and asking what we, the taxpaying public, think. Here’s my story: After I was laid off because my company was taken over by a larger firm, I started my business during the recession in 1982. Divorced, with no relatives besides my college-bound daughter, I took this opportunity to start my own business and took a startup expense bank loan. For the first five years, my business grew but, in 1989, a new recession raised its ugly head and although I’d paid off the bank loan, I again had to use credit cards to keep afloat. That soon became unmanageable and I was deluged with early morning to late at night daily calls from credit payment collectors but I finally was lucky to get a consulting job and within a year-and-a-half, I paid them all off and restarted my business with new skills learned on the job. This time, my business only limped along, but, I was now eligible for Social Security, which then netted me only one-third of the funds to pay basic expenses but the good news was that I paid off my half of my mortgage and had added a second tier of services to increase income. Then, in 2009, my basic business died, killed by this current depression, and again, I have been paying off my major business credit cards, keeping smaller ones for personal and unavoidable expense, but, I am also accepting occasional handouts from my daughter when the utilities' bills due to extreme weather or house taxes skyrocket, which is not fair to her. Now, with my savings dwindling, my investments currently tanking, I’m again paying off my credit card debt instead of using my bank debit card but struggling to live with relatively smaller cashflow and am considering new ways to make a living. One or two of these ways will quite possibly produce ample compensation but at the moment, are not up and running yet. So what do you think I think? I think this suggestion is outrageous and to my knowledge, no state has sanctioned such a practice. The bank credit card issuers have already taken their pound of flesh over time. I request that my comments be accorded the few privacy options allowed me.