View Full Version : Debtor's Hell: Preying on Red-Ink America

07-30-06, 01:21 PM
Debtor's Hell: Preying on Red-Ink America (http://www.boston.com/news/special/spotlight_debt/part1/page1.html)
July 30, 2006 (Michael Rezendes, Beth Healy, Francie Latour, Heather Allen, and editor Walter V. Robinson - Boston Globe)

At nearly every stage, the Globe found, the debt collection system in the state is stacked against the average consumer:

* Many small-claims courts have effectively become accomplices of collection firms, routinely giving them the upper hand in court cases while casually disregarding the rights and dignity of ordinary citizens.

* Collectors almost always win the lawsuits they file, without being asked for evidence that the debts they are chasing are actually owed.

* Debtors frequently receive no notice of the lawsuits against them because debt collectors provide courts with outdated addresses for the people they are suing.

* The disabled, the elderly, and the working poor are often talked into repaying their debts from their monthly government checks, which by law are protected from legal judgments.

* And an obscure posse of law enforcement agents - constables and deputy sheriffs - operate freely as the blunt instrument of collection firms, with neither their steep fees nor their sometimes heavy-handed tactics regulated.

It is, in short, a system made safe - and very profitable - for Massachusetts collectors like such as Commonwealth and Norfolk, and for others like them across the country.

"The creditors are all repeat players. They know exactly how the game works,'' said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law School professor who studies consumer debt. ''We're watching a fight between two players, one a skilled repeat gladiator, and one who's thrown into the ring for the first time and gets clubbed over the head before they even get a sense of what the rules are.''

AntiSpin: No AntiSpin required on this four part series. This is an important and well done investigation into the debt situation that so many Americans find themselves today, how they got there and the terrible issues they are dealing with.

iTulip.com has been running this survey (http://freeonlinesurveys.com/rendersurvey.asp?id=22204) and the survey answers (http://www.itulip.com/GreenspanCreditBubble.htm) on the consumer side of the Greenspan Credit Bubble since 1999 to help educate visitors on the extent of the problem and we hope prevent a some from falling into the debt trap.

Reading the excellent Boston Globe series that carefully documents the way masses of citizens are systematically abused by credit agencies, collection agencies, the court system, and law enforcement will make your blood boil. But rather than just get mad, we at iTulip.com have an idea about how to help address the problem. Later this week, we will present this idea and allow iTulip.com members and visitors -- you -- an opportunity to help if you want to be part of the solution to the Red-Ink America problem and get help if you are one of its victims.

07-31-06, 05:21 AM

Good going. This a topic that definitely needs broader airing. Many Americans are in the process of having their faces ripped-off. Information, that can lead to Knowledge, is always the best weapon. I'll look forward to what it is that you have in mind, and assist in its dissemination.

07-31-06, 08:06 AM
on the other hand, i've met people who ran up $50-100,000 in credit card debt, and then went through bankruptcy [prior to the change in the law] without a qualm.

07-31-06, 11:58 AM
on the other hand, i've met people who ran up $50-100,000 in credit card debt, and then went through bankruptcy [prior to the change in the law] without a qualm.

tempting to generalize personal experience, but the new bankruptcy law is just as this guys says:

Bottom line: you don't need to understand all the intricacies of bankruptcy law to know what to think of this bill. Through their actions, its sponsors have made it abundantly plain that abuse of the system isn't their real aim: protection of major campaign contributors is. The poor get shafted, the very real crisis of medical bankruptcy is ignored, the rich are allowed loopholes that let them off the hook, and credit card companies can continue on their merry way knowing they won't have to pay the price for their own folly.


07-31-06, 12:09 PM
on the other hand, i've met people who ran up $50-100,000 in credit card debt, and then went through bankruptcy [prior to the change in the law] without a qualm.

You're right JK, and because of that the pendulum has probably now swung too far the other direction. I'm a big believer in personal accountability, yet, I can't help but feel that this is like a drug user being put into servitude to pay his debt to the drug pusher that got him hooked in the first place. I don't think creditors should be able to offer money with no concern for ability to repay, without also having to suffer the consequences if they don't get repaid.

I'd like to see the BK laws re-revised to stop some of the real abuses, while still providing a safety net for those who honestly fail in their pursuits. I'm not sure I'd give the last go-around high marks on either front.

07-31-06, 12:39 PM
on the other hand, i've met people who ran up $50-100,000 in credit card debt, and then went through bankruptcy [prior to the change in the law] without a qualm.
i also think the new law is too harsh.

i've been noticing that a lot of problems in our economy go back to the lack of universal health insurance. a lot of bankruptcy is caused by medical bills. many of our industries are non-competitive because they are forced to pay for health insurance....

07-31-06, 06:40 PM
"I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart."
e.e. cummings

"It is unanimously and without qualification assumed that when anyone gets into debt, the fault is entirely and always that of the lender and not the borrower."
Bernard Levin

"When I was young, people called me a gambler. As the scale of my operations increased I became known as a speculator. Now I am called a banker. But I have been doing the same thing all the time."
Sir Ernest Cassel

"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies."
Thomas Jefferson

"A bank lives on credit. Till it is trusted it is nothing; and when it ceases to be trusted it turns to nothing."
Walter Bagehot

"Saving New York city from bankruptcy is like making love to a gorilla. You don't stop when you're tired; you stop when he's tired."
Felix Rohatyn

"Central bankers are against inflation like priests are against sin. But few are out and out fundamentalists."
Guy Quaden

"We have a love hate relationship. We hate inflation, but we love everything that causes it."
William Simon

"Goldman Sachs. Sounds like some kind of brothel, but I'm assured it's not."
Stephen Fry, presenting the Euromoney awards in 2001

and my favorite... itulip.com's credo if you ask me...

"Companies do not go bankrupt the way they used to to, and countries are not declared in default. We talk about restructuring instead. We are prolonging the pains. We are postponing deaths. We are preventing new dynamic structures being created when others die. I think this is detrimental. We cannot abolish death."
Pehr Gyllenhammar

07-31-06, 08:46 PM
a great set of quotes, metalman.

07-31-06, 09:28 PM
a great set of quotes, metalman.

My two cents, so to speak:

"Governments on six continents are running record deficits and sinking deeper into debt. When all else fails (it always does) they'll rescue themselves with the printing press, making cash worth less and gold worth more. When all currencies lose their credibility, gold will benefit."
John Rothchild