June 5, 2006


'Buyers' Give Old Debts New Life Through Lawsuits

Uncollected debts used to die away, victims of time and creditors’ ability to write them off. But with a new breed of debt buyers, the past may haunt you.

Used to be, banks didn’t waste much time chasing credit card deadbeats.

Their staffs would hound debtors by phone for six or seven months, then invite outside collection agencies to take a crack. Few debtors were sued. Those who hunkered down long enough could escape without paying.

Not anymore.

In the brave new world of debt...unpaid bills never die.

Today speculators are buying thousands of these aging accounts at a time and extracting payments the original lenders could not.

Some debt buyers are hauling consumers into court and getting permission to garnish their wages, empty their bank accounts or even seize their cars. Others are convincing debtors to pay down old bills that are no longer legally enforceable.

The amount of written-off credit card debt sold to debt buyers in 2004 — $63-billion worth, according to the Nilson Report — was 100 times the amount sold in 1993. This year, a Las Vegas convention hosted by the Debt Buyers’ Association trade group drew 1,400 debt buyers, sellers, brokers, resellers and lawyers.

Other credit issuers are selling their unpaid bills, too, including such retailers as Radio Shack, Wal-Mart and Bally Total Fitness, and hospitals, auto lenders and utilities.

Asset Acceptance, one of five publicly traded debt buyers, operates a 52,000-square-foot collections center in Riverview. In 2000, the Michigan company sued 25 debtors. Last year, it sued 3,855 debtors.

Over the same period, the types of lawsuits debt buyers usually file — small-claims breach of contract, monies due or accounts suits — rose 56 percent .

With the new, stricter bankruptcy laws and the other statewide legislation you will see the trend increase, with more lawsuits coming every year...unless other laws are created to stop the trend and give power back to the consumers.

This doesn't have to happen to you. For more information go to www.reliable-debt-settlement-options.com and learn how you can stop creditors cold, the different debt settlement options, and the laws you need to know to protect yourself, etc.

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