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Monday, June 25, 2018

Some corporations engage in such abusive consumer rip-offs that they’re just plain evil. But then there are some profiteers that dig even deeper into the dark void of their corporate souls to achieve the ultimate status: TRULY EVIL.

Consider the gang of debt collection firms that are thugglishly and lawlessly rampaging across the country ruthlessly abusing consumer rights and common decency. Susan Macharia, a California administrative employee, is one of thousands of middle-income and low-wage workers each year who get robbed by these relentless money grabbers. Out of the blue, she got a rude call in January from a collector demanding she pay $10,000 for a credit card debt she ran up in 2003.

Only, Ms. Macharia had no such debt. In fact, as she told the New York Times, she didn’t even have a credit card until 2013. Yet, the collection agency declared that it had a copy of a 2006 court judgement for non-payment filed against her, addressed to her California residence — so, pay up, or else! But wait, she lived in Atlanta in 2006, not California. Nonetheless, ignoring facts, the callous collection outfit got a court to rubber stamp an order to let the creditor garnish Macharia’s paycheck, effectively stealing $800 a month from her.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she told the Times, “and I lost so much weight because I couldn’t eat. There was so much stress. And I knew I hadn’t done it!” Luckily, however, a group named Public Law Center took her case, went straight to the company she supposedly owed, and showed its executives the obvious errors in the collection agency’s debtor file. Embarrassed, the company called off its attack dogs and returned the money it had taken from her paychecks.

Few are so fortunate, however. This collection firm and hundreds like it are still marauding across the land, with some 3,000 people a month filing formal complaints that they’re being hounded mercilessly for debts they do not owe. It amounts to legalized highway robbery.

Speaking of robbery, Donnie Trump thinks we should elect him and his fellow Republicans, as they claim to be the law ‘n order party. So, why would they try to kill the sheriff and unleash thousands robbers to run wild across America?

The sheriff they want to kill is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the robbers are these disgusting, unethical debt collectors like the one Susan Marcharia encountered. These thieves that Donnie & Gang are out to help are the nationwide web of corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar to buy huge data bases of overdue bills — then hound the borrower to pay up. They are the hired hit men of credit card giants, Wall Street mortgage packagers, and other corporate creditors — and they profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, rob, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year with illegal tactics — including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

Every year, the debt collection firms routinely abuse the law and overload our courts by rotely filing hundreds of thousands of lawsuits against debtors. Masses of these suits are backed only by flimsy, out-of-date, erroneous, forged, or non-existent evidence. Collectors don’t care about the evidence, for their intent is not to win in court, but to frighten or bamboozle barrowers into paying money they don’t owe.

To its credit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently sided with the victims of this corporate thievery, proposing new rules to stop the outlandish abuse. The Trumpist Republicans have responded with outrage — not at the corporate outlaws, but at the sheriff! Their 2016 party platform advocates for abolishing the consumer bureau, calling it a “rogue agency” for daring to stand up to the real rogues that’re openly robbing workaday Americans.

Why is the GOP so shamefully-soft on crime? Because it’s not just small fry debt collectors involved in this outlandish shakedown of innocent borrowers, but such Wall Street powerhouses as JPMorgan Chase and Citibank — which are also generous political donors to Republican candidates.

Highway robbery is a crime… or not. Depends on who is robbing whom.

Photo: A lock secures a chain on the steel fence of a foreclosed home previously owned by U.S. Bancorp in Los Angeles, California July 17, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

11 Responses to Rampaging Debt Collectors Are Committing Highway Robbery

  1. OK, but one must remember that Hillary Clinton once voted as a Senator to make it much harder for Americans to wipe out their debts through bankruptcy, and was criticized mightily by Elizabeth Warren at the time for it. She has received millions from the financial sector in speaking fees and donations to her campaigns and charitable foundation, and that’s probably not a coincidence.

    Her VP, Tim Kaine is still actively pushing bank deregulation. Kaine has signed letters urging federal regulators to go easy on banks — one to help big banks dodge risk management rules, and another help smaller banks avoid consumer protection standards from the CFPB. Many smaller banks, while they may not have been extensively involved in the subprime mortgage crisis, still commit other consumer protection abuses. In mid July, 28 Senators sent a letter to the CFPB urging them to toughen up their new rule against pay day lending. Tim Kaine didn’t sign it. Hillary herself once refused, as a Senator, to sign on to another bill detailing regulations against abusive and usury payday lenders.

    Tim Kaine is another friend of Wall St and a huge Wall St bundler. They had previously warned Hillary publicly in June that if Elizabeth Warren were her pick for VP, her campaign contributions would dry up…and fast. Not entirely sure they needed to.

    While the Democratic ticket is still better when it comes to the preservation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, people have a right to ask —- just exactly how much better?

    • I don’t think we need to ask how much better, I think it’s pretty obvious. The American people still have more leverage with the democrats then the republicans, the scale definitely leans that way.

      • I don’t think there’s very much leverage. All the Dems have to say is, “we’re not as bad as the other guys.”

        Well, the CFPB will at least be there under Clinton-Kaine. I’ll give you that. How effective it’s going to be compared to how effective it could have been, is another matter.

        • And that is a plus, I’m confidant that together with the Bernie

          voices, we can get things done. The more people involved the better.

          • Bernie this Bernie that. Pleeeeeease! Sanders doesn’t have a clue how to help anyone with his unreleased tax returns. Get over it.

    • Then explain how she and Bill made it easier for us and myself to pay back our school loan debts by making the interest tax deductible???

      • As I understand it, if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $80,000 then this student loan interest deduction is just a deduction from your income, allowed for paying interest on a student loan. It’s a credit but not a direct payment. Furthermore, this deduction can only reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $2,500. In other words, there’s also a ceiling there. Correct me if I’m wrong.

        It’s at least something, but that’s not very useful to making post secondary education affordable for a lot more people. Hillary has supposedly signed onto making state colleges and trade schools tuition free. If true, that comes right from Bernie Sanders although modified a little. Now that’s helpful!

        I’m not sure how she’s defining state colleges. Even if it’s just junior colleges, that’s still terrific.

  2. But Republicans and their leader Donald Trump want to end regulations and agencies designed to protect the public from unscrupulous tactics.

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