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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.

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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.

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