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I heard and read about so many sad stories about people in financial distress.  A lot of it has to do with the brutality of an increasingly sadistic economic system set up to exploit the population.

Yes, we all know and heard about the importance of taking personal responsibility, and doing the right thing, and all that goody-two-shoes stuff.  That's all fine.  I'm sure that the vast majority of people don't default on their debts just for fun.  I'm sure that most people try to do best they can to pay their bills.  People, in general, want to do the right thing.

But we need to realize that given the horrendous disparity of income distribution between the top one percent, and an increasingly impoverished middle class, it is only natural that people are going to end up taken on more and more debt.  This then puts people in a bind as they try to keep up just to cover the basic necessities, and their debt.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you have exhausted all your options and are unable to pay your credit card debts, mortgage, car, or whatever, before you start thinking about possibly harming yourself under the weight of the stress, just turn off the phone!

At least you didn't do it on purpose.  You didn't go about pillaging and looting the entire country under the protection of a government on the take, as the parasites of Wall Street did.

The first thing you need to do, right away, is to stop talking to the thuggish bill collectors.  I'm talking about stopping cold-turkey.  Never, every again talk to them.  Don't ever listen to their voice mail either.

Once you calm down a bit, find out if there is any potential criminal liability in your city or state, as it relate to debt.  Nowadays these thuggish corporatist cartels have been pushing cities to enact onerous laws that are essentially bringing back the concept of debtors' prisons.  So find out what the deal is on that respect.  

A great resource for those who are struggling with unmanageable debt is the STRIKE DEBT! initiative.

As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt to Wall Street for the basic things we need to live, like housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government in recent years.

We are not a loan. Strike Debt came from a coalition of Occupy groups looking to build popular resistance to all forms of debt imposed on us by the banks. Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid. We are building a movement to challenge this system while creating alternatives and supporting each other. We want an economy where our debts are to our friends, families, and communities — and not to the 1%.

One great resource they have is the Debt Resistors' Manual (in PDF).
This manual—written by an anonymous collective of resistors, defaulters, and allies from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street—aims to provide specific tactics for understanding and fighting against the debt system. You'll find detailed strategies and resources for dealing with credit card, medical, student, housing and municipal debt, tactics for navigating the pitfalls of personal bankruptcy, and information to help protect yourself from predatory lenders. Recognizing that individually we can only do so much to resist the system of debt, the manual also introduces ideas for those who have made the decision to take collective action.
If you have to meet some requirement to avoid criminal liability (in those rare cases), then find out what are the minimum requirements.  For example, in some cases you could write a letter to the creditors and tell them that you can only afford to pay $5.00 a month, and that could protect you.

Either way, and getting back to the bill collectors.... The first thing: turn your cell phone or home phone ringer off, but make sure to set up a system for your immediate family and friends to contact you.  It could be a new non-listed, strictly private phone number, or by texting.

If it's your home, car, boat, or your life and sanity, let that material stuff go (after you've exhausted all your options in good faith).

Focus on the essentials... A roof over your head, food, and clothing; that's all you need.  Try to keep your sanity and peace of mind; you'll need it for your comeback, once you're ready.

You are not alone.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook | Social Justice National Ad Campaign



Originally posted to Ray Pensador on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 12:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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  •  Tip Jar (226+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eileen B, kat68, tardis10, statsone, catfishbob, jadt65, antirove, blueoasis, OLinda, Cassiodorus, basquebob, The Eyewitness Muse, camlbacker, Mentatmark, WheninRome, Horace Boothroyd III, markthshark, splashy, Hubbard Squash, Don midwest, Cory Bantic, radarlady, shypuffadder, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, renzo capetti, Sandy on Signal, Sandino, The Lone Apple, Pluto, onionjim, ClapClapSnap, majcmb1, run around, SteelerGrrl, rivamer, MrJayTee, OllieGarkey, gulfgal98, jbob, coppercelt, Rogneid, FrY10cK, DRo, Steven D, ItsSimpleSimon, BlueDragon, AoT, flowerfarmer, blonde moment, Farradin, jm214, One Pissed Off Liberal, Lefty Ladig, buckstop, DvCM, dear occupant, howabout, Crider, bumbi, StateofEuphoria, Miggles, claude, MNDem999, Justus, Gowrie Gal, denig, k9disc, rbird, copymark, jayden, Dark UltraValia, Carol in San Antonio, concernedamerican, KVoimakas, supenau, johnel, TracieLynn, blue aardvark, SeaTurtle, sunny skies, artisan, Cinnamon, roycej, BlueInARedState, karmsy, boadicea, hazzcon, Its a New Day, mkor7, immigradvocate, Azazello, annan, Turbonerd, lenzy1000, ChemBob, zerelda, Pithy Cherub, NYC Sophia, No one gets out alive, livingthedream, ewmorr, sawgrass727, BlueMississippi, wuod kwatch, Rejoinder, NoMoreLies, roses, mookins, rmonroe, Joieau, Syoho, BroadwayBaby1, Yasuragi, tommymet, cybersaur, srelar, dotsright, Robynhood too, jabney, Jarrayy, Tross, cyncynical, leonard145b, Publius2008, countwebb, Raggedy Ann, Statusquomustgo, lunachickie, kevinpdx, Pescadero Bill, JVolvo, bfitzinAR, TX Unmuzzled, imchange, albrt, mslat27, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, venger, Involuntary Exile, elwior, davelf2, DelilahOhMy, fumie, brentut5, jediwashuu, wildweasels, yoduuuh do or do not, bleeding blue, Brooke In Seattle, wader, eataTREE, allenjo, psyched, Mistral Wind, Munchkn, YucatanMan, SanFernandoValleyMom, Buckeye Nut Schell, denise b, vahana, TexDem, skidrow, Wood Dragon, SilentBrook, LucyandByron, legendmn, exiledfromTN, Shockwave, emeraldmaiden, rlharry, zaka1, Bcre8ve, glorificus, The Rational Hatter, ARS, MJ via Chicago, Mayfly, Words In Action, tb mare, david78209, notrouble, Rick Aucoin, KenBee, greengemini, defluxion10, badscience, doingbusinessas, mrkvica, surfbird007, Odysseus, Oaktown Girl, Terre, ScantronPresident, linkage, ichibon, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, deben, hotheadCA, mofembot, isabelle hayes, Dyana, high uintas, DeminNewJ, 1BQ, CS11, berko, asterkitty, NearlyNormal, Chaddiwicker, Colorado is the Shiznit, seefleur, randallt, radical simplicity, skybluewater, coolbreeze, oceanview, Fe, banjolele, vigilant meerkat, pcl07, ItsaMathJoke, Lonely Texan, lostinamerica, dharmasyd, 2020adam
  •  The "distribution of wealth" (54+ / 0-)

    is based on a system in which the vast majority stays afloat by selling its labor power, while a small class of investors accumulates wealth by watching its money make more money.

    It's no wonder, then, that the "distribution of wealth" graph looks like it does.

    "There's nothing heroic about earning profit." -Odo, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 01:01:13 AM PDT

    •  And not only do we sell our labor, we loan it out. (12+ / 0-)

      Does anyone ever receive their paycheck in advance of our work?  Not that I know of, although doctor's offices are increasingly requesting payment upfront rather than billing after their services.

      Instead, we loan our labor to the owners each week or for two weeks or for an entire month, before the owners pay us.  

      The owners are in a constant state of debt to us, yet they treat us with contempt and as expendable commodities rather than as human beings.  Yet they are in debt to us.

      How is it we allow that?   Unions could change things, but only if they are allowed to organize.  

      And, frankly, unions are needed for lower management in practically every company today.  

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:17:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  While well-intentioned... (96+ / 0-)

    ...this is bad advice.

    Eventually, the collection agencies are either going to a) resell your debt to another collection agency, or worse, b) sue you for it.  There's only so long you can string them along before they decide to get a judgment against you, and once that's done, you're going to have a lot of trouble financially (and potentially otherwise).

    While they do have to serve you court papers, they never need to tell you they're going to file suit--they can just do it, then have you served.  Typically, what happens is they serve an old address, either by mistake or intentionally.  Sometimes, this provides the debtor an "out", sometimes not.  If you don't show up to court--and they're relying on you not showing up--they win by default.  Then the judgment is stuck to you for ten years, and they can extend that out another ten years.

    But wait!  There's more!  If you still show no interest in paying what is now a judgment against you, in some states, they can ask the court to put liens on any owned property or garnish your wages--they can ask the court to enforce the judgment.

    To preserve your legal rights, if the collection agency has the right person, you need to send a dispute letter ASAP.  All it has to say is "I dispute this debt!", or something to that effect.  That protects your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  You can also tell them, in your letter, not to contact you by phone--though this almost certainly will speed up their decision-making about sending your case to court or not.  If you do tell them to not contact you by phone, they have to abide by that, but they'll probably sue.  In any event, the dispute letter sends the collection agency back to the original creditor, forcing them to verify the debt is actually yours, that it's actually owed, that it's still within the statute of limitations, etc.

    If the debt is no longer inside the statute of limitations--and that varies by state--tell the collection agency to go pound sand.  Often, they are--there are a lot of "bottom-feeding" collection agencies out there, buying debt they know to be outside of the statute of limitations.

    One thing you should NOT do, at least while the debt is disputed, is pay anything.  That 'resets the clock' regarding the statute of limitations.  Not $10.  Not $1.  Not $0.01.  Nothing.  If you do pay, in the eyes of the law, the debt is essentially "refreshed", and even if it was out of the statute of limitations before, too bad.

    I strongly--STRONGLY--recommend people go over to www.creditboards.com if they're in this situation.  I have good credit, so I'm not and never have been in this situation, but I discovered these boards because I'm bombarded--absolutely bombarded--with collection agencies looking for people who aren't me.  Occupy means well, but the folks at creditboards.com have been doing this for a very, very long time--longer than Occupy has been around.  They're much better at "crowd-sourcing" this kind of knowledge.

    I discovered creditboards.com when looking for some way to stop the collection agencies from calling, looking for people who aren't me.  And, alas, there's no solution to them calling, even if you're the wrong person.  You can ignore the calls, you can even block them, you can tell them they have the wrong number, but they're like a hydra--more and more keep coming, and two come for each head you cut off.  It's maddening.

    •  No this is excellent advice. (17+ / 0-)

      Stop playing the game and you can't lose it.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 02:15:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: Cost-benefts of lawsuit against unsecured debt (22+ / 0-)

      Most agencies sell books of their own collectibles to specialists for pennies on the pennies on the dollar they hoped to garner when they bought the bad business in the first place.

      Generally speaking, people who truly have nothing left to lose are not on these guys' radar screens. The collectors of a mind to file lawsuits are looking for true deadbeats who have something left to lose if the matter goes to court.

      And most people who have ancient (year or more) payables actually have lost everything and have done so through mischance (medical debt, loss of job and home) than malfeasance.

      And especially in case of medical hardship, such persons make poor prospects as hypothetical debt-prisoners.

      •  Not completely true (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG, llywrch, 6412093, ichibon, icemilkcoffee

        They can file a motion in court as a matter of record.  It costs virtually nothing and they do it in an automated process filing hundreds at a time.

        They can then leverage these lawsuits to invoke judgements against people.  One of the key times to do this is at tax-return season.  They can file a quick petition and have any debtor's tax-refund check sent to them instead.  They can also garnish wages, tack on liens to child support payments, and a number of other things once they get a simple judgement.

        And getting a judgement is what they WILL DO as a matter of course.  There are companies that do absolutely nothing BUT THIS for a living. They buy debt, like you said for pennies, then run it through the courts and then "manage" their judgement cases for revenue.

        The NY law firm Cohen and Slamowitz files over 85,000 automated lawsuits per year across every single state...and that is one firm out of HUNDREDS.

        And if I bought your debt for $35 and manage to collect $600 over the course of 3 years, all while only spending a fractional amount of my existing autmated process on your specific case, I'm still looking at well over a 1000% return on investment.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:00:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which sounds awesome... if the person has funds (4+ / 0-)

          I'd be surprised if more than 1 out of 10 persons produces such a yield, and the rest slim pickings.

          And that would still be brisk business.

        •  Three little words to remember (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State, YucatanMan

          Three little words to remember if you're in Florida:

          HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD

          I won't say anything else as I am not a lawyer,  But look it up under the FL statutes regarding bringing suit by debt collectors.

          And while you're at it, take a look at what is protected from creditors should they bring suit.  

        •  To you maybe: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lonely Texan
          It costs virtually nothing
          But to at least 47% of this country that virtually nothing means skipping meals for a week.

          I'm amazed there are so many people so insulated that they do not know that what they take for granted are insurmountable hurdles for most of the country.

          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:35:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dude... come on. READ (8+ / 0-)

            I said filing the lawsuit costs virtually nothing, as in the idea of engendering legal action is not some major undertaking that would require a major cost-benefit analysis.

            These law firms use software to do this automatically from a central office and use software to file hundreds of lawsuits per day per attorney.   Christ, I almost worked for one in Rockville, MD.  The technology they use to run this engine is overly impressive but once you see what this is used for it is grotesque in a true Dickensian dimension.

            The firm filed over 5,000 BRAND NEW lawsuits per month, originated up to 45,000 collection calls per day on a custom built telephony system designed for them by Siemens.  They farmed out call center staff to all kinds of small towns in the Midwest (not only is the labor cheaper, but the center of the country in KS, NE and part of IA as absolutely no accent so people will not sound 'foreign') and when a case actually goes to a courtroom somewhere across the US, they hire a local attorney licensed to practice in that state on a low simple per diem basis to represent their interests in the matter.

            ... and guess what: This entire "law firm" was actually 3 attorneys, one of which was quasi-retired and more of a silent partner.

            The firm made over $1 BILLION dollars in gross revenue and this was back in like 2005.  Now Im sure a good chunk of that went to cover a lot of overhead and staff costs.  They had good benefits, matched 401-(k) contributions, did tuition reimbursement for their employees, but still... $1 BILLION in revenue for 3 partners?  Yeah... this market is not drying up anytime soon.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:49:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  See you assume people in debt will get a lawyer to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador

              return their calls.

              Spoiler alert:

              They don't

              "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

              by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:55:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  WTF? (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                erush1345, ManhattanMan, exlrrp, Quicklund

                HB, somewhere we have miscommunicated.  I have not said ANYTHING about people in debt doing anything.  

                I was responding to the comment (that I think was erroneous) about creditors needing to think about the cost-benefits of chasing down someone with literally nothing to give.

                My point is that, in aggregate, it costs them PENNIES and they do this in such an automated manner that there is never a moment's pause to decide the merits of an individual case.  They buy debt for a fraction of the amount, they run it through their process and start collecting and if you ignore it, their process will, by design and with ever so little effort, wind up winning a legal judgement against you that you will then have to deal with.

                My point is that if you think that because you clearly have no money and are such a relative small fry compared to these large companies and law firms that they will just "move on" if you don't pay, you are woefully wrong.  You will just be fed into the churning engine of collection and litigation without a single pair of human eyes ever looking at your case to decide if you are worth pursuing.  

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:08:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He's not reading. nt (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Quicklund

                  I see what you did there.

                  by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:15:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  After three years they stop. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  AND once you quit filling out any form that includes any credit information like your bank card info. Either by mail or online They quit getting reminded you exist.

                  "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                  by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:23:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Wait a second (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  greengemini

                  While you are painting an awful picture of a debt collection legal monster, Most debts fall into small claims court jurisdiction, where attorneys are not allowed, true?

                  Here in Portlandia, the limit is $10,000.

                  So please explain how this mega firm can mobilize a national court collections offensive when attorneys are not allowed for smaller debts.

                  That said, I'd never ever advise anyone to stiff collection agencies. If it goes to default judgement, that hurts you bad, and you missed a chance to mess with them.

                  In small claims court, you get a hearing, and an appeal, and you can represent yourself.  There's always a chance the collection process screwed up something and you can evade a judgement.  Plus the collection agency has to send people to two hearings, and that erodes their profit margin.

                  I helped my deadbeat brother-in-law evade a $3000 debt to ITT Financial, a bunch of grifters, by challenging them in small claims court. I'm not proud of helping him, he ripped them off, but ITT Financial were crooks and were eventually sued by 40 states for debt collection violations.

                  Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

                  by 6412093 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:19:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hmm? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Quicklund
                    While you are painting an awful picture of a debt collection legal monster, Most debts fall into small claims court jurisdiction, where attorneys are not allowed, true?
                    Attorneys are absolutely allowed in small claims court in all the states I've lived in. Now, it might not be worth their time, which is why they often send clerks etc, who may not be lawyers but who have a lot more training than you do.

                    But really, if a corporation sues an individual in small claims court, do you really think there is a law that says that that corporation is not allowed to send a lawyer to represent its interests? But it can send anyone else?

                    •  Here's what I was recalling (0+ / 0-)

                      Sometimes called "the peoples' court," small claims court is for cases involving claims of less than $5,000. Cases can be decided quickly and economically in small claims court where hearings are informal and you do not need a lawyer. In fact, you must have special permission from the judge to bring a lawyer with you to small claims court.

                      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

                      by 6412093 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:55:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Some states, like CA... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...don't allow attorneys in Small Claims court.

                      A woman in CA used this to open up a can of whup-ass on Honda Motor Company. She sued them in small-claims, where their high-priced lawyers could not help them.

    •  This varies greatly with the type of debt (9+ / 0-)

      I am not a lawyer, and neither are you. First, I suggest that instead of wading through this comment, which is partially true, what people in debt do is go get the debt resisters manual linked to in the post.

      Second, you can stop them from calling with a cease and sexist order, which opens them up for a civil suit if the violate.

      Third, there ate numerous types of debt, some you can safely ignore or even have discharged.

      Finally and most importantly, debt refusal is about more than not being able to pay, it is about refusing to pay on principles.

    •  You can't sue someone willy nilly (7+ / 0-)

      You must properly serve someone. Voicemails don't count AFAIK.

      If something is reported as being in collections, it will show up on your credit report. Once it falls off, it can't go back on. Debt collection agencies have to provide proof that you owe a debt before you are legally obligated to pay it. Just having your name on a list they bought doesn't count.

      Disclaimer: IANAL and this shouldn't be construed as legal advice.

      •  Yes, but... (7+ / 0-)
        You must properly serve someone. Voicemails don't count AFAIK.
            On the other hand, if they have made a "good-faith" effort to serve an old address, and their agent swears that proper service was performed, they can go to court secure in the knowledge that you don't know about the court date and won't show up to dispute it. Then, after a judgement has been made against you, it's harder for you to get the case re-opened or appeal the judgement.
        Once it falls off, it can't go back on. Debt collection agencies have to provide proof that you owe a debt before you are legally obligated to pay it. Just having your name on a list they bought doesn't count.
            But, what Lasgalen Lothir said is about "refreshing" old debt is absolutely true. Even if the debt has been written off by the original creditor, the creditor can still sell the debt as part of a package of "bad debt" for a fraction of its original value. The collection agency can then pay people to call you and the others on the list and cajole you into making some small payment. Once they've guilted you into paying anything, the debt really does become legally collectable again. They only have to get a few people to do it in order to make a profit on their purchase.
             These collection agencies are often run by attorneys who are just scraping by themselves, and have the knowledge and the time to spend getting and pursuing the judgements. The folks calling on the phone are often long-time unemployed people making minimum wage plus incentive payments, working off carefully written scripts. You can beat them if you are careful in dealing with them, but often you need your own attorney. And if you have the money to hire the attorney, you probably don't have this kind of debt hanging over you.

        -7.25, -6.26

        We are men of action; lies do not become us.

        by ER Doc on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:03:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not necessarily true (5+ / 0-)

          Rules of service vary from state to state. Failure to comply with service rules are grounds for dismissal AND vacating a judgment in some states.

          http://www.creditinfocenter.com/...

          •  Only if you know about it. (0+ / 0-)

            And more often than not, you won't.

            Moreover, your advice above about collections agencies having to prove you owe the debt is partly right.  It's not as soon as it falls off your report--it depends on the statute of limitations.  Usually, things fall out of statute before they fall of your credit report (or at the same time), but not always, and they can still get a judgment against you if they file before the SOL runs out (completely independently of whether the debt shows up on your credit report or not).

        •  There is another way if you have debt (5+ / 0-)

          But you have to do a lot of research and know the FDCPA word for word and more than memorizing it , you need to understand waht your rights are.

          Given that, You can buy a book by NOLO "How to represent yourself in Court". You will need this for when you have to threaten the the third part collector.

          Many third party collectors depend on the debtor not knowing the law. That's when they go outside it. Once they violate the FDCPA, you have actionable reason to go after them.

          A number of people who have done all the requisite research, file suits or counterclaims and if they have done their homework, collect $3500 per occurrence. In some , not all, the debt is referred back to the original creditor  by the third party collector. Either that or it's dropped since in most cases they have purchased the debt  in a tranche and none of the debt carries a warranty. It's sold as is.

          Why $3500? The FDCPA allows $3500 per occurrence where no material damages have occurred. That means they have not caused you any loss of money.

          Within the $3500 settlement is $2500 for the attorney and $1,000 for the debtor. If you don't feel like you have what it takes to do this yourself, you can go on PACER and find attorneys in your area that specialize in this. This is very profitable for a consumer attorney as they already have the pleadings for these cases in templates. They simply insert the names. They pay the filing fees and other expenses out of their $2500 as you would if you decided to take it on your own.

          You really have to be excellent at detail and research plus have a tough skin to do this yourself. It will be infinitely  easier if you are working a job, to have an attorney do at least one or two of them for you. I did and just got a $1,000 check.

           Once you see what they are doing, you may decide $3500 is worth it especially if you have a large load of debt.

          This may or may not cancel the debt, but people will be far more reluctant to go after you because they know it could  be costly.  The filing itself creates a level of uncertainty with third party collectors since they know they break the law everyday. The fine is cheap enough, it means nothing to them, but it could mean everything to you.

          Also, don't assume Creditor attorneys aren't guilty of of breaking civil laws.  There was a TV feature on CBS I believe awhile back where a gentleman was out of work and living it up beating third party collectors to the pulp. He must have had a crap load of debt.  

          •  Codename47 (0+ / 0-)
            Also, don't assume Creditor attorneys aren't guilty of of breaking civil laws.  There was a TV feature on CBS I believe awhile back where a gentleman was out of work and living it up beating third party collectors to the pulp. He must have had a crap load of debt.
            His online alias was "codename47".  I'm on another message board he's on.

            However, he's also a cautionary tale, as he got busted for trying to set debt collectors up and wound up doing jailtime for fraud.  Be very careful if you're going to represent yourself.

    •  Having been there at one time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, greengemini

      you advise is right on the money. My wife and I took a $3,000 per month cut  in pay quite a few years ago. Talk about fun it wasn't. Then she got cancer. Lucky for us we had manged to keep our health insurance. It gets better it just takes time!!!

    •  Unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      collection agencies aren't required to validate the debt for you if the account is older than 30 days. If you have something on your report from a year ago, the collection agency isn't required to validate to you.

      Sure, they have to stop actively collecting against you, but they can just sell it to someone else or just let it sit on your report, continuing to suck.

    •  These are critical (16+ / 0-)
      If the debt is no longer inside the statute of limitations--and that varies by state--tell the collection agency to go pound sand.  Often, they are--there are a lot of "bottom-feeding" collection agencies out there, buying debt they know to be outside of the statute of limitations.

      One thing you should NOT do, at least while the debt is disputed, is pay anything.  That 'resets the clock' regarding the statute of limitations.  Not $10.  Not $1.  Not $0.01.  Nothing.  If you do pay, in the eyes of the law, the debt is essentially "refreshed", and even if it was out of the statute of limitations before, too bad.

      You can often find out your state's statute of limitations at your state attorney general's website or your state's secretary of state website.

      And the "reset the clock" on the statute of limitations by making ANY payment is critical. It DOES reset the clock. Collectors will try everything on this one: "earnest money" "A good faith gesture" "a token effort" "anything at all".
            Any of these phrases and their equivalents deserve the Nancy Reagan treatment: Just Say NO!

      Other things to do:
           1) Commenter was right in saying you want the entire matter handled by mail. Once you say this they MUST stop calling you (keep a little pad by phone just in case) EXCEPT they CAN call (once) to inform you they are complying with your request.
           But if you tell them on Monday the 11th you want the whole thing handled by mail, and Wednesday the 13th they give the final call to say they are doing this (from a "supervisor") and then on Tuesday the 19th they call you again (and you write it down) THEY are in big trouble.
           Not right away, but if it ever goes to court you bring this up to demonstrate they engaged in harassing behavior in violation of the FCDPA. Odds are good their entire case will be thrown out "with prejudice" i.e. they canNOT sue you again.

           2) WHEN you tell them you want the whole thing handled by mail DEMAND they provide written proof they actually own the debt. When they sell the debt on pennies on the dollar to another collector they are often sloppy.
            Also, it costs them office time, printer ink, paper and postage to print this out and mail it to you on the off chance they will collect from you. If they only spent $32.47 to buy your debt, postage is $4, Brenda the office gal has to spend 30 minutes (at $10/hr) finding your stuff, running it off, use up toner and ink, etc., etc. the cost-benefit calculation makes this just NOT worth their while. Often they will simply move on to the next name on their (endless) list because you are too much trouble.

           3) There are several states that REQUIRE debt collectors to be registered/licensed in your state to try to collect. The secretary of state's office usually has this info. They are such sleaze-bag, fly by night outfits collectors often neglect this, or they have changed names (again) and not re-registered with your state (with a new fee.) I once stopped a Buffalo outfit cold (and Buffalo is a hotbed for these firms; area code 716 is a giveaway on your caller ID) by asking this: "Strange. I'm looking here at YOUR NAME and its not listed on the Sec. of State's website. So you are in Buffalo NY trying to collect in Minnesota on an alleged debt incurred in Illinois? You know crossing state lines like that could be taken as a federal crime by the FBI...CLICK was all I heard!"

           4) They DO sell blocks of debt to each other so when a NEW collector gets your debt they will start calling you and you have to start all over again with the above tactics, so be ready for fresh phone calls from Norfolk, VA, Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA, among others.

           5) Because they sell to each other for pennies on the dollar, if you do end up headed for court you or your lawyer should ask them in pre-trial discovery "How much did Vulture Collection Agancy pay for this alleged debt?" It can often be a debt of $19,755.11 that they bought for $175. Then you make the fight over the $175 which is all the "injury" and "loss" they are actually facing.

           6) Finally, and a bit off the wall, but this could help. (This is from a few years ago and may not work any more but...) In the late 80's (the way I heard it) some guy got in debt trouble because of the Keating S&L scandal and his debt got sold from one outfit to the next. He got all these calls and letters like anyone else. But somehow (and this is where it gets hazy) he was able to track down his own particular debt paperwork in the debt collection pipeline. When it was being sold one time he bid on it and WON. He now owned his own debt. He framed the paperwork and hung it on his wall as a trophy.

      There is a place for debt. There is a place for collecting on past due debts. But the place where we are now is NOT that place, so Fight Back!

      Shalom.

      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:17:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Could you buy your own debt? (0+ / 0-)

        Since these debts are being sold pennies on the dollar - why don't you buy it and forgive yourself?

      •  You and many others here are covering this (0+ / 0-)

        very well.
        Especially the 'Buffalo' location.
        I made a comment about this on a previous thread last month due to my ex suddenly being harassed by some of these vultures ( A Special Level of Hell ) and I tracked the newly formed CA (EG: fly by night op ) to an address and # near Buffalo, it was only two months incorporated.

        ...Here are some links to very useful information on the whole topic, and Nolo.com is perhaps the best source available (other than your lawyer) for many other legal issues:
        Debt Management
        Debt Management & Collection Agencies
        And particularly:
        Debt Scavengers and Zombie Debt
        Keep in mind that Nolo's articles are written quite conservatively (mostly by lawyers), so read between the lines and look at other sources too.
        One of those links will lead to a useful table of all state 'Statutes of Limitations' FYI.

        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

        by Bluefin on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:58:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Let me ask you a very simple question: (7+ / 0-)

      What happens when the person has exhausted all their options and it comes down to either feeding themselves and their family or paying a bill?

      If the person really can't pay up, literally has no money to pay, what good does it do to subject themselves to brutal verbal abuse by multiple creditors?

      Try to answer that question as honestly as you can.  Thanks.

      •  That's what god invented bankruptcy for (0+ / 0-)

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:34:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bankruptcy costs money! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lonely Texan

          There is no free bankruptcy for poor people with medical debt.

           Quit peddling horse manure.

          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:53:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  For Chapter 7 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greengemini, tacet

            [the simple type]

            A chapter 7 case begins with the debtor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court serving the area where the individual lives or where the business debtor is organized or has its principal place of business or principal assets. (3) In addition to the petition, the debtor must also file with the court: (1) schedules of assets and liabilities; (2) a schedule of current income and expenditures; (3) a statement of financial affairs; and (4) a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b). Debtors must also provide the assigned case trustee with a copy of the tax return or transcripts for the most recent tax year as well as tax returns filed during the case (including tax returns for prior years that had not been filed when the case began). 11 U.S.C. § 521. Individual debtors with primarily consumer debts have additional document filing requirements. They must file: a certificate of credit counseling and a copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling; evidence of payment from employers, if any, received 60 days before filing; a statement of monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and a record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts. Id. A husband and wife may file a joint petition or individual petitions. 11 U.S.C. § 302(a). Even if filing jointly, a husband and wife are subject to all the document filing requirements of individual debtors. (The Official Forms may be purchased at legal stationery stores or downloaded from the internet at www.uscourts.gov/bkforms/index.html. They are not available from the court.)
            http://www.uscourts.gov/...
            The courts must charge a $245 case filing fee, a $46 miscellaneous administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge. Normally, the fees must be paid to the clerk of the court upon filing. With the court's permission, however, individual debtors may pay in installments. 28 U.S.C. § 1930(a); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1006(b); Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule, Item 8. The number of installments is limited to four, and the debtor must make the final installment no later than 120 days after filing the petition.
            If the debtor's income is less than 150% of the poverty level (as defined in the Bankruptcy Code), and the debtor is unable to pay the chapter 7 fees even in installments, the court may waive the requirement that the fees be paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1930(f).

            In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must provide the following information:

            A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
            The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor's income;
            A list of all of the debtor's property; and
            A detailed list of the debtor's monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.

            Bankruptcy is quite complicated. I'm not a lawyer and I've never studied bankruptcy law in detail.
            Among the schedules that an individual debtor will file is a schedule of "exempt" property. The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor (4) to protect some property from the claims of creditors because it is exempt under federal bankruptcy law or under the laws of the debtor's home state. 11 U.S.C. § 522(b). Many states have taken advantage of a provision in the Bankruptcy Code that permits each state to adopt its own exemption law in place of the federal exemptions. In other jurisdictions, the individual debtor has the option of choosing between a federal package of exemptions or the exemptions available under state law. Thus, whether certain property is exempt and may be kept by the debtor is often a question of state law. The debtor should consult an attorney to determine the exemptions available in the state where the debtor lives.

            Filing a petition under chapter 7 "automatically stays" (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor's property. 11 U.S.C. § 362. But filing the petition does not stay certain types of actions listed under 11 U.S.C. § 362(b), and the stay may be effective only for a short time in some situations. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.

            It is important for the debtor to cooperate with the trustee and to provide any financial records or documents that the trustee requests. The Bankruptcy Code requires the trustee to ask the debtor questions at the meeting of creditors to ensure that the debtor is aware of the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy such as the effect on credit history, the ability to file a petition under a different chapter, the effect of receiving a discharge, and the effect of reaffirming a debt. Some trustees provide written information on these topics at or before the meeting to ensure that the debtor is aware of this information
      •  Read what I wrote. (0+ / 0-)

        You'll see what a person can do.

        Or you can assume you know what I said because of my name or something, and respond to something I never said.

        Your choice.

    •  It depends on exactly where you fall (4+ / 0-)

      in the charts above.  I was "judgment proof" - I didn't own anything that could be taken from me.  I kept sending my $5/month to each of my creditors, talked to the one agency that was polite and sympathetic, and - politely - hung up on the rest.  If you've got something to lose, then follow a different strategy.

    •  don't ignore the letters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      It’s not unheard of for people to end up in jail indirectly due to a debt collection court proceeding.

      1. The debt collector files a suit.
      2. The debtor gets the court notice and doesn’t understand what it is or ignores it because they think it’s just another collection scare tactic.
      3. Debtor doesn’t show up in court.
      4. Debtor is found in contempt by the judge.
      5. Judge issues a bench warrant.
      6. Debtor gets pulled over for a speeding ticket, officer sees the warrant, officer takes debtor to jail.

      In most states, this can’t happen but there are several where it can.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:53:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The more your debt is sold, the less it's sold for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, dannyinla

      and the lower payback you can negotiate.  The debt collector wants to make as much money as possible, but given the choice between nothing and still making a profit, they'll choose the profit.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:03:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a common name (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT

      (2093s used to be widespread) and get credit agency calls for other people. I immediately jack them up with complaint letters, but the state agencies have never helped.

      Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

      by 6412093 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:05:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Freedom: I Won't! (19+ / 0-)

    When I was a kid, I read a sci fi story in a collection anthology, one of a large number of anthologies I read, and one of a vast number of sci fi stories I read. But this is one that had a message that has stuck with me since the early 70s.

    A large space dreadnaught came upon a settled planet that was new to them. The inhabitants were not as impressed as they had hoped. Much one sided pomp and circumstance ensued. In the end, the envoys of the Empire fled in terror, fearing that the politics (acually, the philosophy) of the new planet would destroy their Empire.

    The story starts:

    [The ambassador] went silent as the ship closed in and the planet’s day-side face rapidly expanded. Then followed the usual circling and photographing. A lot of villages and small towns were to be seen, also cultivated areas of large extent. It was obvious that this planet—while by no means fully exploited—was in the hands of colonists who were energetic and numerically strong.

    Relieved that life was full, abundant and apparently free from alien disease. Grayder brought the ship down onto the first hard-standing he saw. Its enormous mass landed feather-like on a long, low hump amid well-tended fields. Again all the ports became filled with faces as everyone had a look at the new world.

    The midway airlock opened, the gangway went down. As before, exit was made in strict order of precedence starting with the Ambassador and finishing with Sergeant Major Bidworthy. Grouping near the bottom of the gangway they spent the first few moments absorbing sunshine and fresh air.

    His Excellency scuffled the thick turf under his feet, plucked a blade of it grunting as he stooped. He was so constructed that the effort came close to an athletic feat and gave him a crick in the belly.

    ‘Earth-type grass. See that, Captain? Is it just a coincidence or did they bring seed with them?’

    ‘Could be either. Several grassy worlds are known. And almost all colonists went away loaded with seeds.’

    ‘It’s another touch of home, anyway. I think I’m going to like this place.’ The Ambassador gazed into the distance, doing it with pride of ownership. ‘Looks like there’s someone working over there. He’s using a little motor-cultivator with a pair of fat wheels. They can’t be very backward, it seems.
    ‘H’m-m-m !’ He rubbed a couple of chins. ‘Bring him here. We’ll have a talk and find out where it’s best to make a start.’

    ‘Very well.’ Captain Grayder turned to Colonel Shelton. ‘His Excellency wishes to speak to that farmer.’ He pointed to the faraway figure.

    ‘That farmer,’said Shelton to Major Hame. ‘His Excellency wants him at once.’

    ‘Bring that farmer here,’ Hame ordered Lieutenant Deacon. ‘Quickly.’

    ‘Go get that farmer,’ Deacon told Sergeant Major Bid-worthy. ‘And hurry—His Excellency is waiting.’

    Bidworthy sought around for a lesser rank, remembered that they were all inside, cleaning ship and not smoking, by his order. He, it seemed, was elected.

    The Empire's emissary was not as successful as hoped in bringing the farmer to the Ambassador.
    The farmer stopped his steady trudging behind the tiny cultivator, wiped his forehead, glanced casually around. His indifferent manner suggested that the mountainous bulk of the ship was a mirage such as are five a penny around these parts. Bidworthy waved again, making it an authoritative summons. Now suddenly aware of the sergeant major’s existence, the farmer calmly waved back, resumed his work.
    The ignorant farmer is not suitably impressed, and the Sergent curses.
    Bidworthy found himself afflicted with a moment of confusion. Recovering, he informed hurriedly, ‘His Excellency the Earth Ambassador wishes to speak with you at once.’

    ‘Is that so?’ The other eyed him speculatively, had another pick at his teeth. ‘And what makes him excellent?’

    ‘He is a person of considerable importance,’ said Bidworthy, unable to decide whether the other was trying to be funny at this expense or alternatively was what is known as a character. A lot of these long-isolated pioneering types liked to think of themselves as characters.

    ‘Of considerable importance,’ echoed the farmer, narrowing his eyes at the horizon. He appeared to be trying to grasp a completely alien concept. After a while, he inquired, ‘What will happen to your home world when this person dies?’

    ‘Nothing,’ Bidworthy admitted.

    ‘It will roll on as before?’

    ‘Yes.’

    ‘Round and round the sun?’

    ‘Of course.’

    ‘Then,’ declared the farmer flatly, ‘if his existence or nonexistence makes no difference he cannot be important.’ with that, his little engine went chuff-chuff and the cultivator rolled forward.

    Digging his nails into the palms of his hands, Bidworthy spent half a minute gathering oxygen before he said in hoarse tones, ‘Are you going to speak to the Ambassador or not?’

    ‘Not.’

    And so begins the story "And Then There Were None" by Eric Frank Russell. First published in June 1951, in Astounding Science Fiction, vol. XLVII, no.4

    To find out how the Empire was able to extricate itself from the destruction threatened by this pastoral planet, the whole story seems to be available online here:

    http://www.abelard.org/...

    The concept of freedom being the ability to refuse to cooperate with those "in charge" changed the direction of my future. Read this excellent story, see if you agree with me as to how sweeping a concept that is.

    Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

    by Mentatmark on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 02:34:32 AM PDT

  •  debt peonage is a form of political control (24+ / 0-)

    Chris Hedges hits it out of the park again and again

    Debt peonage is a familiar form of political control. And today it is used by banks and corporate financiers to enslave not only individuals but also cities, municipalities, states and the federal government. As the economist Michael Hudson points out, the steady rise in interest rates, coupled with declining public revenues, has become a way to extract the last bits of capital from citizens as well as government. Once individuals, or states or federal agencies, cannot pay their bills—and for many Americans this often means medical bills—assets are sold to corporations or seized. Public land, property and infrastructure, along with pension plans, are privatized. Individuals are pushed out of their homes and into financial and personal distress.
    I added the bold.

    The first paragraph of the article notes that the government squashed the OWS protests.

    Breaking the Chains of Debt Peonage

    http://www.truthdig.com/...

  •  SKYPE is a great alternate communication tool... (12+ / 0-)

    if you need to dump your phone.

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 03:05:54 AM PDT

  •  Also, don't forget that states have offices (12+ / 0-)

    Which regulate bill collectors. You can file a complaint -- for free -- about illegal or unethical practices. These usually involve the phone, though hey also involve mail that offers to settle a debt in easy payments.

    The key is the owner of the debt has to prove you owe the money. You simply NEVER admit anything about the alleged debt, file the complaint, and demand that they prove the alleged debt  ( always alleged here ) is yours.

    I'm sure the PDF covers this part of keeping parasites off your neck.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:34:31 AM PDT

  •  I stopped answering calls from numbers I didn't (8+ / 0-)

    recognize or were restricted probably ten years ago. Bill collectors don't call anymore

    I did work out a very fair settlement deal with a credit card company years ago and am about to make what I think is a fair deal with a collection company that's been billing me for years after they bought my debt from an overdrawn checking account.

    I researched them and they seem legit. Some collection agencies are not legit. You pay them and then the real owner of the debt comes looking for the money.

    Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

    by FrY10cK on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:43:41 AM PDT

    •  Exactly why banks fear info like this diary (3+ / 0-)
      Some collection agencies are not legit. You pay them and then the real owner of the debt comes looking for the money.
      I shouldn't have to wade through the banks' trail of usury and enslavement to determine who of their RICO-like vulturedom is legit and who isn't. When it comes to collecting a debt I didn't default on in bad faith. I just ignore 'em all.  I found through experience that one does not have to play the credit game. It's not easy to get started but once you do, it's quite liberating. And worth it.
       

      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:33:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll never have good credit in this lifetime. (0+ / 0-)

        I've found a work around for everything so far. It has been frustrating at times.

        Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

        by FrY10cK on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:05:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I used to work in an office where the only phone (22+ / 0-)

    sat on my desk, which was kind of a pain because I'd have to answer the phone for everyone else. But my office had a bunch of grad student-instructors and we were constantly in debt so it brought me great joy messing with the bill collectors. I'd give them a song and dance telling them that because this was a university all callers must recite the instructor's 5-digit "access code" before they could talk to them. "She's sitting right here but without that access code I can't put her on the phone." It drove them nuts knowing they were so close to contacting the victim they had been tracking for probably for months, I was almost sad when they quit calling.

    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

    by frankzappatista on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:52:02 AM PDT

  •  Ive been (13+ / 0-)

    phone free for 4+ years by choice now, which at 29 yo is almost unheard of in my generation.

    I got tired of paying 100 bucks a month for something I rarely use (I did the same with cable tv), and that even when I did use it, it felt like a chore of sorts.

    People seem to think because you have a phone you are obligated to answer and I dont feel a need to be connected to the world 24/7. Family, friends, bosses, bill collectors, etc, all can annoy the hell out of you with  the push of a button, and who wants that?

    Lately I have had car problems so I may have to get some sort of prepaid emergency phone so I do not get trapped on the side of a highway, but other than that and the occasional time I'd like to order some take-out I do not miss it a bit.

    My solution has been an ipod touch and using wifi. Resteraunts, grocery stores, doctors offices, my work, etc.. all provide free-wifi these days. Mix that with skype or other phone service apps and you are good to go for just a few dollars a month. There are also text-for-free apps or paid-texting apps if you are security minded. Not to mention email services like yahoo and gmail let you email phones directly, or you can use AOL or Yahoo messenger to send a message to a phone number. Add a microphone and you can leave voice messages or set up your own voicemail account.

    Phone companies are a scam.

  •  A new wrinkle (11+ / 0-)

    My ex-wife got in credit card difficulties and while she had the ability to repay what she owed, the terms set by the card company were beyond her means so she just gave up; they wanted far more each month than she could afford....no exceptions.  The normal harassing phone calls and lawyers letters ensued but you can't get blood from a stone so that basically she just stopped answering them.
    Recently she received word that the state listing of unclaimed property included an account supposedly worth over $100.  Who do you suppose claimed to have the money?  Well it was the collection agency.  They'll go to any length to get to you.

    •  The sharks are doing the fishing now, how cute. (0+ / 0-)

      Usually when you fish offshore you chum the water to attract the fish, especially for shark (they are predators after all, blood in the water, eh whot?).
      Now they're chummin' for the hoomins...daa dunnt...

      "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

      by Bluefin on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:51:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you need a reason NOT to feel (13+ / 0-)

    guilty about being unable to pay your debt, consider this; By the time the debt collectors come calling, the original company has written off the debt, and taken it as an expense that they use to offset their taxes.  In other words, the government allows a business to pay LESS tax because they had a bad debt.  Business expects to have bad debts, they plan for it, they have all kinds of accounting rules to make it work for them.  

    The debt collector buys the debt for pennies on the dollar because they are a bottom feeder.  So the debt collector who says you owe $100 really only paid about $10 to the original company.  For business debt I typically see them buy debt for about 40% of the original cost and that is before they charge the 'attorney's fees'.  

    So in reality, the debt they say you owe has already been subsidized by your tax dollars and is costing the original debtor little to virtually nothing.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:24:35 AM PDT

    •  Partly subsidized (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hrvatska, VClib, nextstep, Odysseus

      I was owed money by a LL once.  It quickly became evident that it was uncollectible, so I deducted it.  My out of pocket loss was about $1,000, and the deduction reduced my taxes by about $250.  So, even though I deducted it, I still lost $750.

      •  Bet you made up that 750 bucks in (0+ / 0-)

        "time" and "overall aggravation".

        You broke even overall. At worst. Please.

        It is time to #Occupy Media.

        by lunachickie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:37:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  huh? are you really arguing that you (0+ / 0-)

          know someone else's finances so well? Or that someone can possibly 'break even' after losing $750? That's 75hrs at $10/hr, a lot of 'time' and 'aggravation'. We're supposed to listen to you and who you support for financial advice???

          I see what you did there.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:20:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  When we are looking at large (0+ / 0-)

        corporations and larger business, the bad debt number is baked in to the numbers from the get go.  In fact, it is expected that a certain percentage is bad debt.  I don't feel sorry for Mastercard or AT&T because they consider it a cost of doing business.  

        My point was that people who find they really can't pay, should not feel guilty.  I collect business debt as part of my job and there are those that really just can't pay, and those that are purposely not paying.  We try to stay away from the ones that purposely don't pay and give those that can't pay a lifeline if at all possible to at least collect some.  

        However, there is a certain number each year of bad debt that is expected and the amount comes straight off the bottom line which reduces the tax.  For a small business that loss is a big deal, for larger companies it is not, it is just part of the cost of doing business.  As someone said below, for them it would be cheaper to just write it off instead of spending the money to collect.  

        Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

        by whoknu on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:41:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  whoknu - the top corporate rate is 35% (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      So the largest tax benefit available from the "write-off" is 35 cents of each dollar.  A company who writes off a bad debt has an actual cash loss of at least 65 cents of every dollar they write off.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:43:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe debt shouldn't be allowed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      to be written off/down for federal tax purposes until it is truly written off/down.

      I'm sure with such a change the Obama would have a few extra tens of billions to pay federal workers scheduled for furloughs.

  •  Beware Direct Deposit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    If you're in debt, you are going to have your account monitored.

    As soon as it hits the magic number they're looking for, you'll find a block on your account and HAVE to talk to a debt collector to get it back.  And usually maybe only... 10% of it.

    Bad news for all the Social Security folks who now HAVE to have direct deposit.  Veterans are still cool, but not much longer.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:26:01 AM PDT

    •  Collection agencies can't view your bank balance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie, martydd

      and monitor your checking account.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:54:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, but they may subpoena the info from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        the bank from time to time.

        •  Please provide a researchable example (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          martydd

          of such a thing.  

          The only way this would seem to be possible is by banks or credit unions who you both owe money to (ex: on a credit card or vehicle loan) and you also have your checking account with them. They can freeze the amount of funds in your checking account which is actually due to them and allow you access to the rest (and if you don't have enough to cover it, oh well...)

          Otherwise, I think you're talking about very, very rare instances that would not apply to many folks reading here.

          It is time to #Occupy Media.

          by lunachickie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:41:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  First, the creditor has to know where you bank. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dannyinla

          Second, there has to be a judgment.  Nobody can just subpoena stuff without some legal basis.  

          Third, before anyone can take money from your bank account, they have to have a writ from the court, served by the sheriff.

          My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

          by martydd on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:46:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Social Security and most pensions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, lunachickie

      Social Security and most pensions cannot be touched in Florida.  It may be a minor pain in the ass to restore the funds, but the bank will do so fully if that's you're source of direct deposit.  

      As a matter of fact, in Florida, most banks will not even  honor a request from creditors if you have given them a notarized letter (can be done usually at the bank) telling them the source of your direct deposit.  

      Know your rights in the state you live in.  

    •  Social Security (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State
      If a creditor other than the federal government tries to garnish your Social Security benefits, inform them that such an action violates Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407).  

      Section 207 bars garnishment of your benefits.  It can also be used as a defense if your benefits are incorrectly garnished.  Our responsibility for protecting benefits against garnishment, assignments and other legal processes usually ends when the beneficiary is paid.  However, once paid, benefits continue to be protected under section 207 of Act as long as they are identifiable as Social Security benefits.

      NOTE: Supplemental Security Income payments cannot be levied or garnished.

      http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/...
  •  There's criminal liability for not showing up (4+ / 0-)

    at court hearings if you're summoned.  So: go to court hearings if you're required to do so.  

    There's no criminal liability for debt, OTOH.

  •  The credit system is screwed up! (6+ / 0-)

    I have three different collection companies reporting the same debt on my credit report. I am nearly 100% positive the bill isn't mine because I never lived in the city where the original utility bill occurred. I've gone through all the proper channels to validate the bill, but none of the collection agencies are required to validate to me anymore. So now they just sit there.

    I have three "collection" accounts from a car accident I was in, not at fault. The original bills were paid directly to the hospital by my attorney, but somehow the collection agencies started reporting the bills on my report after the date the bills were paid!

    The fact of the matter is, collection agencies have extremely little incentive to post accurate information to our credit histories. In fact, from what I can tell, there are huge loopholes allowing them to knowingly post inaccurate information. I've spent countless months, over a year, and countless money sending certified mail to get these inaccuracies rectified to no avail.

    What kind of system do we have when 1000s of people just like me are doing everything we can to clean out debt, and it just doesn't matter? If you want to assume these collection accounts I have are real, I get no credit score boost by paying off the debts ... because paying off an account in collections does absolutely nothing for your score, we're better off just saving the case and letting it fester.

  •  Holy Sweet Mother of the FSM! (7+ / 0-)

    This is the absolute worst idea I have seen posted on this site in a long long time.

    DO NOT ignore your debt.  By all means you can hang up on collectors, but you need to communicate with creditors to work out a payment solution and DOCUMENT THAT COMMUNICATION.

    Thinking yourr somehow "Sticking it to the man" and rallying in complete solidarity with the Occupy movement is going to be cold fucking comfort when you get a court-ordered judgement slapped against you.  That will follow you around EVERYWHERE you go and you will no longer be dealing with the bill collectors, you will be dealing with the Courts, State Government agencies and law enforcement.  Thats your idea of "getting your sanity back"?

    When you can't get credit for ANYTHING or face an emergency and the only loan you can get is at 21.5% APR... or you get denied a job because your credit undercuts your background check, or your credit history is used against you a child-custody case, or get your insurance premiums raised (because they factor credit into their actuarial tables) or get forced to put security deposits down on routine utility accounts, etc...   you're decision to "not be bothered by collections anymore" is really really not worth it in the long run.

    Don't get me wrong.. there are predators out there galore and you should know your rights, but you need to ACT RESPONSIBLY.  This is not a game but if you take this kind of gob-fuckity bullshit advice, you will LOSE.  And you will pay for it for YEARS.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:09:01 AM PDT

    •  How this idiotic screed is on the rec list (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VetGrl, SingularExistence, erush1345

      is astounding. What's next? "Never File Taxes Again".  

    •  You didn't read the diary. If you have the means (5+ / 0-)

      then pay up.  If you can work out a deal with the creditors, do so.  If you absolutely have run out of options and have ability to pay, in any way shape or form, then don't subject yourself to the verbal and psychological abuse of debt collectors.

      If you must, collect your bills, do some research to make sure you don't get in trouble with the law, and then offer to pay what you can, even if it's $1 a month.

      What's your take on that?

      •  My take (5+ / 0-)

        is to not counsel people to only focus on the immediate and short term things like a roof over their head, food and clothing.  

        Debt collections have major long-term life impacting consequences and people need to address them within the parameters of their specific situation.

        Yes, some creditors are predatory so if you want to inform people of their rights, then by all means do so.  But this occupyist zeitgeist of reciprocating the banking billionaire's disregard for the law and somehow thinking you'll be okay is listed on the Grand Advice Catalog Table under the heading "Not Good".

        You're trying to say you're just telling people not to subject themselves to the daily harassment, but look at this very comment you made in response to mine:

        If you must, collect your bills, do some research to make sure you don't get in trouble with the law, and then offer to pay what you can, even if it's $1 a month.
        Please explain to me Ray why that sentence starts with "If you must...".  Because this is America, this is money you owe ergo --> You. Must.  

        I fail to understand the "If" part and furthermore find it a bit reckless to dangle the suggestion of possibility of doing otherwise (the implied if not counter-statement to this) to people that, if this diary is truly resonating, probably have their personal situations squarely within the kind of situation you are chronicling.

        Debt is oppressive, granted.  But must be dealt with responsibly and be disposed of properly.  Changing your phone number and throwing out the mail is worse than doing nothing.  It could actually make matters worse, trigger additional actions be it legally, criminally or financially, and does absolutely nothing to actually remedy the situation.

        Debt doesn't vanish if you ignore it long enough.  You reference Occupy's strike debt program but look at it more closely.  What they are doing is joining the game.  They are legally buying debt.  They are participating in the same legally defined markets only with their own end-game in mind.  No one can simply burn away legitimate debt as your diary image suggests.  Not even the occupiers.

        And even if you have no ability to pay in any way, shape or form, you still are going to need to work with your creditors to resolve the balances or you will drag this behind you and your family for the rest of your LIFE.  No matter how many Trac phones and Skype accounts you use to "keep your sanity".

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:04:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  To file a lawsuit (0+ / 0-)

      costs about $400 in court fees in my Florida county.

      The clerk will want that $400 upfront.

      •  Its only $400 if its over $15K (0+ / 0-)

        and subpoena's are just $7.00 each.

        And its all automated, they pay in aggregate when they file several hundred lawsuits at a time per state.

        Im a Legal IT guy, I've seen inside the belly of this beast.  It is simultaneously impressive and revolting how seamlessly this runs.

        There are dedicated off-the-shelf applications that manage this for firms so that a single bar-admitted attorney can file thousands of law suits per month.

        Look at things like CollectMax and CollectOne or Columbia Ultimate has a whole litigation package to manage everything from acquiring new debtor accounts, managing collection efforts and then seeing any litigation through to completion and tracking judgements for "downstream revenue".

        But the REALLY big players often use custom designed software and call management systems built around their processes and markets.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:18:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Trying to collect debts (0+ / 0-)

          is tough.

          Poor is the new way of life in the USA.

          The poor do without bank accounts.

          They can and often do live in houses owned by relatives.

          Getting a judgement may be easy. Getting it paid off is another.

      •  I was looking at circuit court (0+ / 0-)
        County Court Civil FEE

        Filing Fees For Civil Actions
        a.  For each claim less than $100.00 $55.00

        b.  For each claim of $100.01 but not more than $500.00 $80.00

        c.  For each claim of more than $500.01 but not more than $2,500.00 $175.00

        d.  For each claim of more than $2,500.01 but not more than $15,000.00 $300.00

        Circuit Court Civil FEE

        Filing Fees for Civil Actions
        a. Any civil action (except real property, mortgage foreclosure, dissolution (Chapter 61), child support, custody, foreign custody (Chapter 61), domestic relations (Chapter 741), conservatorship (Chapter 747), grandparent visitation rights (Chapter 752), supervised visitation (Chapter 753). $400.00

        b. Any civil action proceeding under child support, custody, foreign custody (Chapter 61), domestic relations (Chapter 741), determination of parentage (Chapter 742), conservatorship (Chapter 747), grandparent visitation rights (Chapter 752), supervised visitation (Chapter 753). $300.00

        http://www.sarasotaclerk.com/...
  •  Sallei Mae and Home Owners Ass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisper

    Maybe the worst to default on - they can block job applications and sell your house

    Thanks for this

  •  Awful advice (5+ / 0-)

    First of all, ignoring debt, even if it is not yours, is an absolutely awful idea for reasons described here.

    Secondly, it's not just a matter of other people like credit agencies and prospective employers thinking you are an irresponsible and undependable person, it is you actually being irresponsible and undependable.

    Putting aside medical debt maybe, at some point in the past you went to this creditor, asked to borrow money, and promised to pay it back. Sometimes that is not possible for various reasons, in which case you should file for bankruptcy and not really feel too bad about it. The economy is bad, etc.

    But not paying debt back as some kind of a statement? That statement is "I'm an asshole with an entitlement complex". Life isn't fair a lot. The distribution of wealth isn't what a lot of us would like. That's no excuse for you individually to act irresponsibly or decide you don't need to play by the rules. Especially if those rules involve ever getting a loan, apartment, or job again.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:44:29 AM PDT

    •  The CC companies especially took the risk on too. (6+ / 0-)

      There's a good post above on what efforts to avoid in order to not lose your property, but say this is the scenario:

      You have $50,000 worth of credit amongst various lines and credit cards. You've used about $20k up and your interest rate averages 9%.

      Recession happens. Banks cut your limits to just about what you've used. Because they cut your limits, this hurts your credit score on the credit used vs credit avail ratio. Then, the same banks raise your interest rates to considerably higher rates because your score dropped.They didn't have to lower your limits OR raise your rates, but they did.

      You decide, meh, this isn't a good deal anymore and I can make it without needing to buy a house or an expensive car. And you settle, consolidate, or simply walk away.

      The creditors took that risk. You reacted. No moral issue imo; businesses declare convenient bankruptcy all the time.

      I see what you did there.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:53:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whose got a credit card rate of 9%? (0+ / 0-)

        Ever?

        No, really, I have >GREAT< credit, and I'd be dreaming if I ever--in my entire 41 years of living--had a rate that low on a CC.

        Also, in the real world, most banks will only do what you describe if you've got clear problems paying them back.  They raise the interest rate (usually to 30%) to make you pay attention to that particular debt and pay it off sooner than debt at a lower interest rate.  That's the purpose of that--they've decided you're no longer a good risk and want to get rid of you.

    •  Employers should be banned from using credit repor (9+ / 0-)

      for job applications unless the position requires the handling of money or company finances. Some states have already done this, and I think that is great. Checking credit on job applicants is just another way of keeping people down in a still very bad economy.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:05:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You need to work on your reading comprehension. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      I would never advocate people not paying their bills as some kind of statement to stick it to the man.

      Here's a quote from the diary to help you with your reading comprehension:

      So if you find yourself in a situation where you have exhausted all your options and are unable to pay your credit card debts, mortgage, car, or whatever, before you start thinking about possibly harming yourself under the weight of the stress, just turn off the phone!
      •  Well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, dannyinla

        75% of your diary is irrelevant material about wealth distribution. It implies that not paying your bills is somehow more ok because of the current state of the economy. It isn't. Wealth distribution is completely irrelevant to whether you should pay your bills. If you disagree, why did you bother to post all of that material?

        Not to mention that your actual advice (don't talk to creditors) is awful and will cause a lot of misery.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:11:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Strike Debt has a chapter in the Bay Area. (3+ / 0-)

    http://strike-debt-bay-area.tumblr.com/

    An outgrowth of Occupy Oakland.  We've held a debtor's assembly and two followups, along with organizing meetings.

    The website is a bit out of date, but there is contact information there.

    Our next meeting is this Sunday in Oakland.

  •  Tipped and rec'd (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Ray Pensador, venger

    You can also tell the bill collectors to stop calling you.  That will stop them for 30 days.  In the meantime, send them a registered "cease and desist" telling them to stop calling you.  Make sure someone has to sign for it.  

    That stops the phone calls period.

    It used to be a mark of character to pay your bills and pay them on time.  No more.  The banksters have shown us decency, responsibility, and yes, honor mean nothing.  Since the banksters are not only still walking free AND Obama's AG tells Congress they're "too big to jail", screw 'em.  

    By the way, the laws regarding debt collection, asset exceptions, garnishment are very liberal in Florida.  Know your rights.  Don't be afraid to tell the collectors to go f*ck themselves.  That is before you tell them to stop calling you.  

    We don't need the creditors.  They need us.  

    •  I think what you mean (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BroadwayBaby1, 6412093

      Is after a "1st contact" they are required to send you your rights as to Verification. You can request Verification within 30 days.

      They then have a choice a. verify (and until they do cease any Collection activities, if they don't ding that is a violation of the FDCPA and they owe you money)

      b. Stop collection activities

      Always send a verification letter.

      And a second request pursuant to the FDCPA which is an actual cease and desist where you say that you find it harassing. They are still allowed to contact you about certain things, but again they contact you when not allowed or know you have an attny ding violation of the FDCPA.

      ALWAYS SEND BOTH CERTIFIED AND KEEP COPIES. BEST TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE MAIL SO THEY CAN DO AN AFFIDAVIT STATING IT AS WELL. I SWEAR 99% of CA's VIOLATE THE LAW AND KNOW IT. IT IS WORTH IT BECAUSE PPL DON'T RESPOND. SOME DO BUT DEFAULT JUDGMENTS OUTWEIGH THE EXPENSE OF SETTLING WITH THEM.

      I'D ALSO SAY ALMOST ALL THE TIME IT IS BEST TO SETTLE PRIOR TO IT GOING TO A LAW FIRM, AND INDUSTRY STANDARD IS 50c on the dolllar. That is if you offered any CA 50%, they'd take it every day. Usually you can less.

      •  I'm not a lawyer (3+ / 0-)

        I'm not a lawyer so I'm not up on all the legalese.  

        But when you tell them to stop calling or emailing or confine themselves to snail mail letters, the law says they have to comply.  

        •  Correct (8+ / 0-)

          Sample:

          This is what I sent for my Client and after they contacted they owed him money.

          First part is "verification request" during the Verification period they must cease all activities and stop pursuing unless they verify (I would always do that). Second part is or could be another letter that is "stop calling me" and if you don't (this CA didn't (CA-Collection Agency)) bam they owed him attorney fees and 1000.

          VERIFICATION (As they say in initial letter you have 30 days to  . . . ) Note- much of this they don't actually have to provide you as many internet sites will claim. Verification/Validation is actually very little info, however, I saw no harm in leaving.

          I. DISPUTE AS TO CLAIM
          I am sending this letter to you in response to the phone calls I keep receiving from you.
          Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay nor acknowledgment, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.  
          This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section and other law. I respectfully request that your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
          Please provide me with the following:
          •    What the money you say I owe is for;
          •    Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
          •    Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
          •    Provide any papers related to the alleged account, or otherwise between you and whom I believe is the true debtor;
          •    Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
          •    Identify the original creditor;
          •    Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;
          •    Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
          •    Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.
          •    Provide me with actions taken to the subject parcel as I have not lived there in over 10 years;
          If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:
          •    Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
          •    Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
          •    Defamation of Character
          If your offices are unable to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.
          Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.
          If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

          II. NOTICE OF MY CONSIDERATION OF YOUR PHONE CALLS AS HARASSING

          Further, I am writing in response to your constant phone calls.
          I have already informed you numerous times of the following:

           . . .

          According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,   [15 USC 1692c] Section 805(c): CEASING COMMUNICATION: You must cease all communication with me after being notified in writing that I no longer wish to communicate with you. Therefore, I demand that you stop calling me at home, at work, on my cell phone or at any other location!
          In accordance with the federal FDCPA, now that you have received this "stop calling" letter, you may only contact me to inform me that you:
          •    are terminating further collection efforts;
          •    invoking specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by you or your company; or
          •    intend to invoke a specified remedy.
          •    I also would allow communicating offers regarding that the account has been settled otherwise
          Be advised that I am well aware of my rights! For instance, I know that any future contact by you or your company violates the FDCPA and that since you already have my location information, calls made by you or your company to any 3rd party concerning me violates section 805(b)2 of the FDCPA.
          Be advised that I am keeping accurate records of all correspondence from you and your company, including tape recording all phone calls. If you continue calling me I will pursue all available legal actions to stop you from harassing me and my family.
          In the future direct all correspondence intended to me to my attorney (cc’ing me on any mailed items):

          [CLEVELAND ATTORNEY]

          I look forward to hearing of the resolution of this matter. Again I cannot stress enough that my attorney is fully aware, and should you take any such action threatening my ability to obtain my medications by garnishing what is known to be social security disability payments, we will file suit. We are taking this matter extremely seriously as it makes very little sense to us.
          Yours Truly,

    •  Excellent post. Thank you. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BroadwayBaby1, venger
  •  I'd like to pass on one piece of advice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Sparhawk

    If you're drowning in debt and you're too afraid to go it alone, see a reputable bankruptcy attorney.  Yes, they are out there.  They will tell you point blank what your rights are, what cannot be touched by creditors, and so on.  

    Depending on your assets and family situation, you may find out you are what is known as "judgement proof".  Not "suit proof" because anyone can bring suit.  

    As a lawyer friend once told me, bankruptcy is going to ruin credit the same way stop paying your creditors ruins it.  If you have no assets that can be taken, why pay the several thousand dollars to end up with the same credit rating?

    Know your rights.  Look up your state statutes regarding debt and debt collection.  And see a lawyer if you can't sleep at night.  

    •  That is not exactly accurate (2+ / 0-)

      It is a very powerful tool to say to a CA that I can either do __ or I am going bankrupt and that you are Judgment Proof.

      Bankruptcy has a much greater impact on your Credit. Much greater. It is truly ideal for yes those who are uncollectable AND YOUNG (so you can repair your credit).

      A CA does not HAVE TO report writing off a debt as a negative, they probably will but it does not have the same affect as a Bankruptcy. Not even a foreclosure does.

      I will though help your post in giving you an example of Judgment Proof, or more importantly the idea of a no-asset Chapter 7 Debtor.

      If you owe say 30,000 in unsecured debt (ie not a mortgage, credit cards etc). You don't own much. You are in Ohio. Yes you may want to file for Chapter 7. I have a client who owns no home, owes probably more than that, no car.

      She can choose Ohio's state exemptions or Federal (ie what Creditors cannot get to)
      House- 25,000 in equity (ie you paid down by 15k-can't get to)
      Car- 2500
      Household goods- 10,500
      Bank- 500 (cash on hand)
      Wild-Card- ie anything- 1,500
      a couple others that don't apply to someone like her.

      She has nothing above any of that. She is "Judgment Proof" in that she can file Chapter 7 and her Creditors will reach nothing. It will destroy her Credit but that is fine, it is shot and she is young. She is someone I'd suggest and am filing for. However, it is more complicated, what you own becomes an asset of the bankruptcy estate, so for example if she wanted to file now and is due a 4,000 tax refund it is probably not a good idea as she'd be better off waiting (unless she needs to somehow stop a garnishment). because unless somehow she makes a deal with the US Trustee her Cash on Hand and Wildcard leave 2k out there.

      I suppose my point is Ch 7 is a powerful tool, one to use in negotiating. If I need to collect or even sue if I know someone is going to file for ch 7 I would never bother it isn't worth it.

      I'd take what I could right then and there. So my clients usually are considering Ch 7 when I negotiate.

      2 other important points from experience. 1. In dealing with many of these companies who bought mortgages it is impossible. Simply impossible. Find a real person in the US. Or you'll get nowhere.

      2- I forgot. There is simply so much in this area. I again invite anyone to PM me. As I had to learn this stuff recently.

      •  It all does depend (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ClevelandAttorney, Odysseus

        Regarding bankruptcy and CA's bringing suit:  It all does depend on what state you live in.  

        In Florida, your primary residence cannot be touched.  

        Your primary car under $1500 cannot be touched.  (I have a 17 year old car with 160,000 miles on it.)

        Your household goods cannot be touched unless they're over $1000.  That sounds like very little, but they are evaluated at "garage sale" prices.  (After my dogs got through with my furniture, Good Will would reject it)

        Your retirement fund cannot be touched.  

        Social Security cannot be touched.  Most pensions cannot be touched.  

        Your children's college plan cannot be touched.

        If you are "head of household", your wages cannot be garnished.  

        If your income is less than median income, your wages cannot be garnished.  (check on this)  

        It goes on and on.  There is a reason why so many people default on debt in Florida.  

        Again, I am not a lawyer so please verify this information for yourself.  :)

        •  I think to a certain extent you are talking about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          Garnishment exemptions.  But as to each yes States vary. Someone who has no job, doesn't own anything (in OH) and receives only Social Security, Unemployment, and about 7 other categories of income, that cannot be garnished.

          But if I was a Judgment Creditor I would get my judgment and wait til they had something (so you can essentially be judgment proof, but in OH it takes a long time for a Judgment to become Dormant and even longer for it to become of no effect, and the Creditor can simply renew so not good to count on them forgetting, ie take some action every 5 years).

          Garnishment- That is if they have a judgment they cannot go into your bank account and take it out. Now if they garnish your Account you have to prove that is all it is, at a hearing, and until then your Account might be frozen (in OH). I think that is what you mean to an extent?

          I was talking about being a no asset Chapter 7 filer. Basically wiping everything out. And what exemptions there are. That is you can retain some things and Creditors get nothing.

          I meant to talk about Bankruptcy.

          •  That's Ohio (0+ / 0-)

            A judgement against real property in Florida can last for 20 years, but has to be renewed after 10.  

            Since one's home is a protected asset as is one's car, furniture, personal goods, etc.  most could wait out 20 years as they have nothing else of consequence.  

            Any other type of judgement in Florida runs out after 4 years.  

            Again, I'm not a lawyer, but it looks to me, unless you come into something substantial, this is a good place to be.  

             

            That is you can retain some things and Creditors get nothing.
            You need to have something for a creditor to get something.  If you have nothing, good luck collecting.  
  •  DO NOT IGNORE- DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS (3+ / 0-)

    Sorry. But I have had to learn to help a lot of friends in dealing with Debt recently.

    The WORST thing you could possibly do is ignore your financial situation.

    When it is still with the Original Collector I have been able to negotiate a settlement of 35% for my friends. It reflects poorly on their credit, but it's better than bankruptcy.

    EVEN BIGGER I have found that probably 99% of the time a Debt Collector violates federal law.

    They do not include the validation notice, they make threats they cannot.
    Recently a debt collector ended up writing off a debt and paying MY CLIENT because I sent a stop contact letter and they continued to. That is a violation of the FDCPA (Federal) and entitles him to up to 1,000 for each violation and attorney fees. So he settled for writing his name off and 600 for keeping track of them calling.

    If they are harassing you, under the FDCPA send them a letter saying to stop contacting you. They have to. If they don't ding, probably a violation and their are a lot of firms that will get you money in a month.

    If they aren't violating law the worst thing you could possibly do is ignore. I have other clients who did and now have default judgments who don't get if it were prior to I could've agreed to a lesser amount, now they have a judgment.

    The worst thing on earth you could do is not check your Mail. If you do that you lose your rights.

    If anyone has trouble with a debt collector as it happens I am dealing with about 3 for friends and if you think there are violatoins or want to know how to deal I could probably give you advice.

    •  How much does negotiation impact credit score? (0+ / 0-)

      A negotiated settlement dings your credit far less than bankruptcy, I assume. But how much does it affect your credit?

      There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. -- Robert Hass

      by srkp23 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:16:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would really suggest ppl learn their FDCPA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BroadwayBaby1

    rights and rights in their respective states.

    The ugly truth is that I seriously believe 99% of debt collectors at some point violate federal law. They depend on people not opening mail or paying attention to calls. What they can and cannot say is extremely, extremely specific. Google the Company and you will see very quickly their rep. They may end up owing you.

    I urge anyone who plans to unplug their phone to think twice. THe last thing you want is to suddenly have your bank account garnished because you ignored a bunch of notices and let them take a default judgment.

  •  you can also block their numbers.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    it works great too and relieves stress immediately.

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:51:21 AM PDT

    •  See my post (4+ / 0-)

      Send them a letter. Let them call you. If you're in a state that allows record the convo. Log it.

      If you told them to stop, sent certified can prove it there are dozens upon dozens of firms that all they do is write up a Federal suit (because each call is a violation of the FDCPA, settle, and you get some money and they get attny fees).

      Know your rights, let them hang themselves. Do not ignore what they are saying either for your possible benefit or to let it get too far out of your control.

      Even if you send no letter if they call you and say "you need to pay or we are going to sue you and take your house" they just violated a lot of laws that have statutory damages.

      If they call your house and tell someone not you the same, just as bad.

      DO NOT LET IT GET TO A LAW FIRM.

      •  thanks for the information... I'll do that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ClevelandAttorney

        they have been calling me for my son's debts, it's making
        me crazy.  After months, I think I got them all to stop
        calling now.

        "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

        by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:01:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wait (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Statusquomustgo

          See this is what I mean. Is your son over 18? Does he live there?

          If they are saying things to YOU about it being a collection activity (usually they don't violate by saying we are calling about a business matter is __ there, if not they hang up).

          But if they are saying "your son owes us money and needs to pony up" . . . talk to an attorney today. I am pretty sure they are violating the FDCPA.

          There are so, so many ways that they do. What I meant above was that they know they are, but the % of people that call them out is outweighed by getting Default Judgments.

          So they'll skirt the law, pay where they get called out, but it is something like a 60 billion dollar industry, so 1000 for the 1% of people who look into all these things they are doing wrong doesn't much matter.

          It does to you/your son.

          PM me or write here if you want what they have done/said.

          •  he is 35 and hasn't lived with me since he was 18 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ClevelandAttorney

            the check cashing places, he rented a washer and dryer, his bank and his car loans.  They all called me.  I have no records at this point, I didn't realize that what they were doing was illegal....  They all specifically talked about his
            debts.  I would love to sue the bastards...

            "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

            by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:19:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have you told them that he doesn't live there? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Statusquomustgo

              If they continually called after that that would also be a violation (probably).

              I would try to Generally recall.

              Did they send mailings to him after?

              It would be his suit I suppose, don't know the SOL, when it happened (important).

              •  Generally what they should have then said to you i (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Statusquomustgo

                we are trying to locate/speak with _ about an important business matter.

                Id'ing themselves as collecting a debt is a huge no-no.

              •  yep and they kept calling... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ClevelandAttorney

                but they didn't send mail.  I have my phone records and dates and could probably do a recall and write a history.

                as to your remark below... they said it was for a debt.

                "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:43:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah I am pretty sure that is not ok. (0+ / 0-)

                  Let me find the firm my client used.

                  That is a third party communication. I know your son would at least have a federal COA (of course I am going on broad facts, but it is worth discussing with an attorney is more what I mean.)

                  Let me find the firm My client used. They resolved it in weeks without suit and paid my client.

                  I could tell by the way they worked they do nationally and there are firms like them that are also just assembly lines of FDCPA claims, settle, move on.

                  I am not sure you'd have an FDCPA claim, or other, in Ohio if I said stop calling me theoretically it would be harassment.

                  So obviously do not take what I am saying as applicable for sure in your state. I wouldn't know if in Ohio, but it certainly seems unsavory to me.

                  It is worth discussing. I can say that. And most firms like that would obviously consult you for free when you called. Let me find.

                  •  A firm like this (0+ / 0-)

                    Lemberg & Associates, LLC

                    1100 Summer Street, 3rd Floor

                    Stamford, CT  06905

                    Telephone: (203) 653-2250 x5501

                    Toll free: (877) 775-3666

                    I don't know where they are admitted, but I hadn't realized prior that it was getting so common that there were firms where that was all they did.

                    I would look them up, look at description, if they're admitted in state call. Or google or use martindale to find similar firm in your state. . .

          •  what about Kansas City Power and Light (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ClevelandAttorney

            I took back my townhouse that I had given them, he hadn't paid the light bill and they wouldn't turn on my lights for
            over a week in February because they wanted me the PAY HIS BILL... they were nasty about it too....

            "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

            by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:21:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not 100% clear (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Statusquomustgo

              I think I know what you mean but not totally sure. That might be more complicated. That happened to friends of mine who kind of ended in a bind because they didn't change who the bill was going to.

              If they shut off your GAS, in Ohio in that month, that would be illegal irrespective of collection activities (I only know OH, but have to imagine the same in other states that is between something like Oct-March they cannot turn off).

              •  I'm in Missouri and they shut the power off on (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus

                February 5 of this year.  He owed about $900.00 and they
                verbally assaulted me and wouldn't turn my power back
                on.  I faxed them all the necessary documents they asked
                for and they wouldn't even make a phone call to verify.
                They kept saying I knew where he was and they wouldn't
                turn my power on until I told them or paid them.  I was trying to switch the power into my name when they shut it
                off.  I had to call the Missouri Public Utilities Commission
                and make a complaint.... they called it an informal
                complaint.  I thought it was illegal for them to turn it off
                then too but they did it anyway.  That day the temperaturee
                got to 65, I think that was the loophole that allowed them
                to turn it off.  And for the record, I have no idea where my
                son is or was, but they didn't believe me.

                "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:47:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hm. . . (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Statusquomustgo, greengemini

                  That is much worse that what I expected.

                  I assumed still under his name turned off.

                  But to retributively turn off until you reveal information? That is really unsavory.

                  I'll think about. But, that also sounds really not ok. It just is such an uncommon set of facts its difficult to say absolutely that it is __.  If it were Ohio I would think PUCO's regulations might answer.

                  I wonder if there is 1. a Statute (for statutory damages)
                  2. If you had to pay some kind of reconnection fee.
                  (so you'd have damages to assert).

                  They probably record their own calls. I'd have to think about even if it were OH. If like OH it is illegal to turn off and we are talking about Nat Gas, I'd guess there is some penalty for doing so.

                  I would Google some key phrases to that and the Company, sometimes you'll find hundreds of complaints and how ppl resolved. Any attorney saying they don't use google would be lying.

                  Otherwise if I can't think of anything- it just seems like blackmail (not blackmail word kind of a synonym alluding me)- I would not forget about it. If nothing else send them a letter certified asking for damages (prefarably if you find some basis, but if you do I would go to an attorney). I would probably run by some consumer law attorney anyways.

                  •  I'll check it out... thanks for the info (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    greengemini

                    they didn't charge me anything to turn it back on
                    but that was after I filed the complaint with the Missouri
                    Public Utilities Commission.  I'm going to give an
                    attorney friend of mine a call and check it out.

                    They made the statement to me that if I lent him the money
                    I would want to be paid back, and I told them they were the
                    dumb asses that had extended him the credit not me.  I
                    won't lend him any money.  

                    Gas Service didn't give me a problem at all.  

                    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                    by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:13:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I definitely would (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Statusquomustgo, greengemini

                      I tried to look for a second. I do see the "cold weather rule". It's not clear to me if this applies (or if they failed to do this):

                       

                      4. What steps must utilities take before disconnection my service?

                      Before the utility may turn off your service during the winter months (October 15 through April 15), the company must send you the following information:

                          A disconnection notice telling you the date you may be disconnected
                          Details on payment plans and how to avoid disconnection
                          How to appeal if you and the utility can't agree on a payment plan
                          A list of energy assistance and weatherization providers
                          No-cost and low-cost methods of conserving energy
                          A Third Party Notice Form

                      http://www.puc.state.mn.us/...

                      It all though does imply to me that shut-off contemplates YOU owe it.  And there is something egregiously wrong with "we'll turn it back on if you tell us how to collect a debt".  (Although as to the above I don't know what Utilities they described, and if they did the above, it sounds like they did not).

                      I just have never heard of anything like that.

                      If your friend cannot help I'd go to martindale.com and look up a Consumer lawyer in your area.

                      It definitely seems really really inequitable and if their justification is we'll cut off unless you tell us, I just cannot think of what that would be, it is basically extortion (depending).

                      •  cool thanks ClevelandAttorney, you've been (0+ / 0-)

                        so helpful, I appreciate it.

                        "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

                        by Statusquomustgo on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:38:30 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  As the readers here can probably tell (6+ / 0-)

    As the readers here can probably tell, the diary subject is near and dear to my heart.

    So please cut me a little slack when I post multiple times with more advice.  

    Remember one thing when dealing with a debt collector:  You are only responsible for the debt you agreed to pay.  

    In other words, you are not responsible for a debt if:

    **You are solely an authorized user on someone else's credit.  It doesn't matter if you charged on the card or not.

    *You are not responsible for someone else's medical bills even if that person is your spouse.  

    **You are not responsible for the debts incurred by someone who has died.  Those debts can only be paid by the deceased's estate.  If the deceased didn't have 2 nickels to rub together, there is no estate.  

    Debt collectors will use every trick in the book persuading you to pay a debt you do not owe.  

    Know your rights.  That's the first step to taking financial control over your life.  

    DISCLAIMER:  I am not a lawyer so check with your state attorney in a community property state.  

    •  I am a lawyer and what you are saying is (4+ / 0-)

      pretty accurate for Ohio.

      As my Contract Professor said my first year of law school and I see it to be so true

      "Sit on your hands and lose your rights"

      I guarantee, guarantee if 10 people on here told me everything that happened throughout someeone attempting to collect I could point out a violation.

      There are just so many impermissible things.

      Also I would add a warning which is the internet is full of misleading tactics. Read them, but take with a grain of salt as it is usually the realists saying really debt collectors only have to do _.

      Another thing that's helped me as a short cut is looking up what I think is wrong and seeing if there's a class action about it (and looking up the CA).

    •  Following up on debts after death. (0+ / 0-)

      When my mother died, one of her credit cards was solely in her name. She was still married to my father. She had no estate. Creditors tried to get my father to pay her credit card debt but there was no estate to go after. Without contacting a lawyer, he would not have known that he had no legal obligation to pay her credit card -  a debt which was not his. When my father died, there was an estate that paid his credit card debt.

  •  This is why I only extend credit to people that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Odysseus

    don't need it.  

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:16:41 AM PDT

  •  If you are in LITIGATION (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, greengemini, SingleVoter

    My biggest piece of advice is RESPOND. Often times they will not have sufficient info in their Complaint.

    You ask for a more definite statement (for example they sued a friend of mine and did not have any kind of Account or Original Agreement (required under Ohio Civil Rules).

    A lot of firms simply dismiss.

    That is probably, technically, arguably, etc. a violation of the FDCPA. That is you cannot threaten legal action you do not intend to take. I have not looked into but taking legal action until you see you are not going to waltz into a default Judgment I would argue violates.

    But most importantly being active you will probably get an offer (they don't want to do any work) or dismiss. If you're not and ignore they'll get a default judgment, then at some point try and Garnish you.

    I did that in my Friends litigation, these places are just assembly lines, they see an Attorney and it costing them time, they want to settle already for less than half.

    Again, often they will just dismiss. ALWAYS RESPOND.

  •  Closing your eyes doesn't make them go away (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ClevelandAttorney

    I guess it seems like a revolutionary act, right up until they garnish your wages and repo your car.

    Sure, you can hang up on the debt collectors, but run don't walk to a non-profit group that can help you negotiate with the creditors. Chances are if you are in this mess, your negotiating skills around money aren't going to be good enough. (An ex-colleague did this for his daughter; if you have a relative with these skills, great.)

    At one time I had a commute that involved listening to car radio. This guy's politics are bad and his religiosity overbearing, but his financial advice on getting out of debt and staying out of debt is something the 99% (a fortiori the 47%) should keep an eye on.

  •  Ray, you couldn't be more correct. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Wood Dragon, Odysseus

    I lost my job in early 2006.

    I became a Realtor in mid-2006, and lived on credit, waiting to make a sale (just one would have paid all my credit off)...

    until I took on another desk job in Jan 2007.

    But the debt? I couldn't pay it. The new job was only about 60% of my last job, and after 2.5 years, I lost that one, too.

    I've gone from bad to worse over the past decade, as regards income and debt.

    I checked out my state law regarding "revolving credit, line of credit, non-collateralized debt". So, any credit that was not attached to collateral, with a monthly payment, was subject to a specific set of rules in WA State.

    The original creditor, after six months of no payments and no contact with the debtor, must write off the balance of the account (tax consequences). They can then sell that debt if they want to. Six years after that date? The debtor can inform anyone who currently holds the debt that the debt is no longer enforceable. Meaning you don't have to pay it, and no one can force you to pay it, not even through the Small Claims court system.

    But the key is that you must not speak with or communicate with anyone who owns that debt - because the minute that you do, the clock starts over again on the six years.

    These rules only apply in WA State for revolving, non-collateral-based debt that was accrued as of January 2007, and may have changed. But I doubt it. This is after the last federal changes to personal bankruptcy laws.

    Please check for the regulation of personal credit debt in your own state.

    But most importantly - DO NOT TALK TO or communicate in any way with a debt collector if you want a chance to escape their clutches and avoid the Bankruptcy Court!

    fyi - I am not advocating debt default. For more than 25 years, I took out consumer loans and charge accounts, and paid them on time and in full. But when you cannot find work for years at a time, and it is for half of your previous income, what is person to do? Starve and pay the bills or become a credit scoflaw?


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:51:25 AM PDT

  •  Hey, collection calls to your cell are illegal (0+ / 0-)

    for a variety of reasons.  Google the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  By all means, save any collector voice mails and use them to your advantage. They are fined on a per-call basis.

    There are some exceptions, and this mostly applies to debt collectors calling individuals (not the original party you owe money to and not calls to you if you are a business). But don't stand for it.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:00:42 AM PDT

  •  Good diary Ray. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    But one problem is you should never ignore an order to appear in court if a debt collector takes you to court.  I say that because if your a no show you will be held in contempt of the court and could be arrested.  I worked for a while in the courts and it is the law that you must show up for the hearing.  One of the best things you can do in that situation is to get a lawyer to declare your inability to pay the debt.

    Long story short, I got hit with a pre-existing condition and while being fully insured I was still denied payment of my medical needs.  Instead of getting a VP shunt, I ended up having spinal taps to relieve my hydroenphalus which were to be paid out of pocket.  But, they are $2,000.00 each and I had about seventeen.  When I was over burden with the medical bills and my ability to work was becoming hit or miss, my roommate, a lawyer, did write to the bill collectors.  Part of the problem is they want all money paid up front, but once you get help they have to set up a payment plan.  

    It wasn't a fun time for me, but the bills did eventually get paid.  

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 12:08:14 PM PDT

  •  Help with private student loans? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    My biggest problem is private student loans. I pay $1464 a month to them, which is like 60% of my household income. I'm getting nowhere with the rest of my life. I pay over $14,000 a year to my loans -- yet they go down a fraction of that every year. I owe $110,000 on $60,000 that I took out.

    But I'm scared to do something like this, largely because my parents co-signed the loans.

    And even if they didn't, all of the loans seem to protect the lender, not the borrower. It seems like the government will go out of its way to garnish my wages to help them.

    What can you do in that situation?

    •  If your parents have $110,000 in housing (0+ / 0-)

      equity, they might refinance their house and pay off the student loan.

      You might be paying 7.9% interest (maybe even 9%). Mortgages are running at less than 4%.

      You'd have to repay your parents, but you could do it at say $800/month.

      I tell people not to borrow more than $5,000/year [unless they are going to medical school] for a reason.

      •  Other relatives might be willing to help you out (0+ / 0-)
      •  the worse in that group is 14.5%. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm paying different rates, the worse in that group is 14.5%.

        My parents are actually unanble to refinance their house because they co-signed my loans and this money is added on top of their debt. No one will touch it because it destroyed their

        I took this out between 2000 and 2005. Unfortunately at that time very few places were helping give any of this information, my school was incredibly misleading (it was still legal to receive kick backs from Sallie Mae, etc) and most of the information was still coming from the lenders.

        But yeah, as you note, there's no such thing as IBR for this loan. And I'm not even sure it qualifies under any sort of forgiveness because it's all private. I feel completely ignored, which is frustrating because they're still federally guaranteed, the lender doesn't care how little I make and no one ever talks about the fact that many trade schools push these like crazy through intimidation and lies.

    •  Income-based repayment (0+ / 0-)

      [not available to you]

      The following loans from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program are eligible for IBR:
       Direct Subsidized Loans
       Direct Unsubsidized Loans
       Direct PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
       Direct Consolidation Loans without underlying PLUS loans made to parents
       Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
       Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
       FFEL PLUS Loans made to graduate or professional students
       FFEL Consolidation Loans without underlying PLUS loans made to parents

      Loans That Are Not Eligible

      The following loans are not eligibile for repayment under IBR:
       PLUS loans made to parents
       Consolidation Loans that include underlying PLUS loans made to parents
       Private education loans

      Monthly Payments

      Under this plan, your monthly payments are
       based on your income and family size;
       adjusted each year, based on changes to your annual income and family size;
       usually lower than they are under other plans;
       never more than the 10-year standard repayment amount; and
       made over a period of 25 years.

      '
      25-year forgiveness—If you repay under IBR and meet certain other requirements, any remaining balance will be forgiven after 25 years of qualifying repayment.
       10-year public service loan forgiveness—If, while you are employed full-time for a public service organization, you make 120 on-time, full monthly payments under IBR (or certain other repayment plans) you may be eligible to receive forgiveness of the remaining balance of your Direct Loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
      http://studentaid.ed.gov/...
      You may have to pay taxes on any loan amount that is forgiven after 25 years.
      This is only a good option in some cases [no promising future, low income, and a large amount of debt].

      I've provided the information in case a few Kossacks could use it.

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