"Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration: A Roundtable Discussion" - August 5 and 6, 2009
Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Proceedings, P094806 My Comments to the FTC: The letter below was in process before Attorney General Swanson’s lawsuit. I hope my experience played some small part in that decision. Now I guess I will step up and hope that this small contribution will help change the laws to prevent this in the future. I hope our lawmakers will do the same. This is how I feel and how I viewed and interpreted what I went through with Debt Collectors, Debt buyers and arbitration through the National Arbitration Forum. I never got over what it put me through, how sick it made me feel and the time lost attempting to defend myself with Laws that had no merit. And the silence of a document hearing, months and months of waiting and not being able to address a judge and or a court and solve this in one day, is one of the most stressful things I have gone through. I should have been protected by the Laws. Violations were not enforced or sanctioned. It did not seem to matter what code wasn’t followed by Claimant and the case coordinators were not willing to apply rules that favored the respondent (the May or May Not interpretations of the Code.) Besides the fact that more than 90 days had expired between the filing and the “on your porch” service, no validation was ever provided, no documented accounting, no proof of ownership or assignment and three agency name changes while in arbitration, third party violations, no discovery was ever provided (even by order), and more, and then wondering “who determined the merits of the claim?” Did the Forum make this determination? An arbitrator had not yet been assigned. What happened to the Forum Rule regarding the 90 day rule, yet this claim still has merit? What collector is the real collection agency when the names changed three times with no notification to the respondent, but the Forum obediently changed the claim name and permitted a request to change “after” I objected? Whose generic agreement is this, and why did they sign a document under penalty of perjury that it was mine when it was not? It cost me many, many months of agony, stress and duress. These were violations of Federal and State law and the Forum’s own rules being ignored. Why doesn’t the government see all the complaints? Why doesn’t the government help me? I am not an attorney, I cannot afford an attorney. But I knew this was wrong. I personally feel most debtors are not looking to get money from the debt collector for their violations of the FDCPA or FCRA, they are looking for justice. Most are more worried about getting back to work to put food on the table or are working and don’t have time to go to law school on the web for a $1000.00 fine. They are making complaints to Federal and State Agencies, saying look at this, listen to this, can you please do something? Why doesn’t the law prevent these abuses of this process? Why do I not have the right to have my day in court? This is where I feel the Federal Government needs to stand up and step in and hold them accountable and not let them create rules to avoid the laws. It’s not about the money or any alleged debt any more, it’s about what stories of Wrongful Arbitration are out there and people’s rights that should be protected by law, and what is being done and what is not being done about the protection and violations of those rights and laws. And more attention needs to be paid to the Debt Buyers who are not collecting for an original creditor, yet demand more than the original debt when purchased for pennies on the dollar. Whether I interpreted any Forum Rule wrong or Federal or State Law wrong, I do not know and if so, I apologize. It is just proof of how confusing and stressful and wrongful this process that was forced upon us is. Please do not let the Debt Collectors create their own Forum for handling these disputes, as it will never be fair when they create the rules and it is profit oriented. Thank you.