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Posted in In the News on January 22, 2020   |  by Gary Burger

Consumer Collection Lawsuits - Part II

Last email newsletter i wrote about consumer debt and how our courts are clogged with collection suits by large credit card and debt companies against Americans.

The numbers don’t lie: from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012, there were 116,289 judgments handed down in debt collection cases in St. Louis City and County alone.

My proposed solution: implement a debt Court in Missouri.

Rather than having everyone take off work and having to walk hat in hand in the Court to explain why they can’t pay the debt they incurred trying to save their wife’s life, why don’t we have an arbitration Court where they do not have to come to Court or waste a Judge or attorneys time?

Why can’t they just have a telephone conference with a court administrator and the debt collector and resolve these matters with payment plans? Or give them counsel and information so they can figure it out. People do not know what to do about debt problems.

The people I met with in Lincoln County had no idea what do. They were trying to figure out how to handle their debt and had many questions about how and what they should do.

As lawyers and as a Court system we owe a duty to Missouri citizens and Americans to make this debt navigation easier for them.

Bank and credit card companies are some of the most profitable organizations around. In the first half of 2019 alone, Bank of America hauled in $14.7 billion, setting a record for the largest profit ever in just six months.

These profit numbers have steadily grown over the years, and will continue to grow. For example, in 2019, the nation’s 5,303 FDIC-insured institutions earned net income of $62.6 billion, an increase of 4.1% from the same time in 2018 and an all-time high.

Additionally, American consumers collectively had $1.08 trillion in credit card debt as of mid-2019, while there were 41 billion U.S. general purpose credit card transactions in 2018.

After meeting with this couple in Court, I got the other side to agree to a 60 day continuance of the hearing on their debt, talked them into getting a hold of Legal Services or me if they are unable to, and gave them advise on how to get into a debt management program.

I also advised them on how to get out of their contract with the Nevada debt consolidation company, long term debt and finance solutions, a way to save their house, and as much advise as I could give them at that time.

Most are not successful in fighting Bank of America. It shouldn’t depend on whether or not a lawyer is going to stand up in Court and help them or not. Thousands or millions of Americans are going to get judgments against them this year and get unfairly taken by these vultures feeding on the poorest Americans.

A debt collection system would more efficiently accommodate debt holders rights to collect on their contracts while better protecting debt holders. Consumers could be educated and manage their debt crisis.

This would lower the caseload of bankruptcy courts and other institutions designed to address unmanageable debt.