When Debt Buyers Attack
The newspapers and the Internet have been filled
with stories about how mortgages are sold and traded
among banks and investment groups to the point where
the original loan documents are missing.
Considerably less attention has been given to the
current phenomenon of “debt buyers” and their
acquisitions of delinquent credit card portfolios.
But those of us who spend time in the civil sessions
of the District Courts know that the activity in
many court sessions is completely dominated by a
handful of investor groups who buy credit card debt
at discounted prices and then use bullying,
predatory lawyers to recover money.
When those folks go to court, they almost always win
for one good reason.
Almost nobody opposes them.
If a defendant simply sends a piece of paper to the
court denying the debt after he or she is served by
the debt buyer’s lawyer, there won’t be a default
and the debt buyer has to prove its case. Then it’s
a different kind of fight.
The defendant can request documents from the debt
buyer to show the purchases, or how the debt buyer
acquired the debt.
Very often, debt buyers don’t have sufficient back
up material to prove their case. And if they don’t
show documents that the debt has been formally
assigned to them, they cannot even prove they have
standing to sue.
The lesson is clear. Debt buyers need to be
challenged. Very often, they are recovering debts
with forty percent interest charges, especially when
over limit and late fees are calculated. The author
has seen interest rates as high as 79%.
If a consumer cannot locate a lawyer who he or she
can afford and comfortably work with, it is not that
hard to learn how to defend one of these cases
without a lawyer.
In any event, debt buyers are speculating on the
human misery of people who usually have lost their
jobs or become too ill or disabled to work, and thus
unable to pay their credit card bills.
Resisting their efforts to cash in on human
misfortune is a challenge worth undertaking.
The author is a lawyer, author and activist living
in Hull, Massachusetts. He is presently working on a
book teaching individuals to resist lawsuits brought
by debt buyers without using a lawyer. Visit his
website at www.grossack.com.