Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration: A Series of Roundtable Discussions" - August, September, and December, 2009
First, I believe those in debt have a responsibility to repay their debts, but the current system makes it virtually impossible to do so. The debt collection industry is and has been created, supported and perpetuated by the insatiable greed of the banking industry, particularly those in consumer credit lending who have no moral or ethical reservations in changing terms of lending on the fly or charging interest rates that would make a loan shark blush which intentionally results in pushing the consumer to default and closer to insolvency. The debt collection system that the banking industry spawned and the associated problems is their own doing and our government has allowed the abuse to consumers by not imposing stiffer penalties on those who blatantly and consistently break existing laws. Our courts continue to support the unethical and illegal activity as a means of generating income. As long as the courts collect their portion of the pie, they don’t care if a consumer is being hauled into court unjustly on a debt that is either not theirs, is past the statute of limitations or can’t be proven. They don’t care if a consumer cannot afford competent legal counsel. They don’t care about the financial, physical, mental and emotional toll it takes on the consumer who has to defend themselves for the rest of their lives in a system that assumes the consumer is guilty. All original creditors should be required by law to inform a debtor that their charged off debt minus any paid insurance claims if any has been sold, for what amount and to whom. All original creditors should be required by law to inform the consumer that their delinquent accounts have been turned over to a collection agency and at the bare minimum provide the contact information. All debt buyers should only be allowed to collect on the amount owed after insurance claims paid the original creditor and for a provable percentage based on what was actually paid for the debt. All debt buyers without provocation, should be required by law to provide evidentiary material that substantiates and proves their claims of ownership to the alleged debtor before initiating collection efforts. The statute of limitations in all 50-States should be for a period of 4-years. Anyone who files suit beyond the statute or without proper evidence of chain of title should be automatically fined 5-times the value of the alleged debt to the courts and 5-times the amount to the alleged debtor. Anyone trying to collect on a debt that can’t be proved should be fined the same as a debt buyer. Any collector or debt buyer who attacks protected income (SSI, unemployment, etc.) should be fined at 25-times the amount being sought. If it’s important enough for a debt buyer to collect the debt, it should be important enough for them to be able to prove they own it before bringing suit and unnecessarily burdening the court system. How does our government expect the country to recover from the current economic mess when its taxpayers who have been financially devastated through job loss, foreclosure, illness, disability and shrinking retirement savings aren’t allowed to? Our government provided billions in taxpayer dollars to those who had a fiduciary responsibility to protect consumers, the ones who keep their businesses afloat, while they were protecting and padding their own bottom lines. Instead, banking industry has been rewarded for its unethical if not illegal behavior in which the taxpaying consumer is being held accountable by way of the national debt, higher taxes and unfair, illegal and unethical collection practices.