Target: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Paul Ryan
Goal: Introduce and pass legislation that stops brutal debt collection methods.
Millions of Americans are saddled with debt and live in fear that at any moment, their livelihoods could be compromised, or even seized, by debt collectors. The process of debt collection is largely unfair to the debtors, who more often than not are in debt because of an inability to pay their debt off, not because of laziness or a rejection of responsibility.
The use of the court system to collect outstanding consumer debts is increasing. Two years ago, four million Americans had their wages garnished for purposes of paying consumer debt, of which those who made between $15,000 and $40,000 per year were most likely to experience wage garnishment. Black communities are targeted for debt collection disproportionately to white communities with similar incomes.
Subprime lenders have started garnishing pay from active-duty soldiers who fall behind on loans. Public and nonprofit hospitals have started resorting to using the court system in an effort to collect medical debt, even from patients who qualify for financial assistance. Capital One sued its customers with stunning regularity, filing more suits than their competitors against customers who fall behind on payments, especially during the Great Recession.
Debt buying is largely responsible for the emergence of this practice. Debt buying is a practice wherein a debt collection company purchases delinquent debts for a fraction of the its face value, then turn around and try to collect from the debtor. Further complicating matters are that the plaintiffs in these cases, who are largely debt buyers, have legal counsel, while the debtor may not have representation in court.
Because of tactics used by debt buyers, bank accounts owned by debtors are commonly cleaned out and debtors live with the threat of garnishment for years. Sign the petition to end the practice of debt buying and pass legislation to limit garnishments.
Dear Mr. Speaker,
The practice of debt buying has largely contributed to the excessive use of the court system for debt procurement and has left many Americans hemorrhaging money through garnishment. While it is important for people to pay off their debts, they should not be forced into destitution because they owe money and debt buyers should not be permitted to excessively use the court system for purposes of garnishment in the name of collecting a debt.
It is with this in mind that we urge you to introduce and defend legislation aimed at setting a reasonable limit on debt seizures and setting a limit on bank account garnishments affecting millions of indebted Americans.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery