22 minutes | Jul 19, 2015
Chase Bank Ordered to Stop Collecting on 528,000 Accounts – Pay $50 Million to Consumers
On July 8, 2015 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 47 states took action against Chase Bank for illegal debt collection activities involving the sale of delinquent accounts to third-party junk debt buyers. After a thorough investigation the CFPB found that Chase Bank had done the following: Sold Bad Debts to Third-Party Debt Buyers: The investigation found that Chase sold accounts to junk debt buyers that had already been settled, paid in full, discharged in bankruptcy, not owed by the debtor, were part of a repayment plan, or were otherwise unenforceable. The CFPB also found that Chase had sold debts to junk debt buyers that were missing or contained erroneous information such as whether the debt had been paid or the amount owed. Assisted Third-Party Debt Buyers In Deceptively Collecting Debt: The CFPB also found that Chase sold inaccurate or uncollectable debts to junk debt buyers. It was found that Chase knew that the junk debt buyers would seek to collect on these fault debts, and thus by providing the junk debt buyers with inaccurate information actively participated in deceptive collection activities. Robo-Signed Affidavits to Sue Consumers for Unverified Debt: Chase filed more than 528,000 debt collection lawsuits against consumers and provided more than 150,000 sworn statements to debt buyers for their collections lawsuits against consumers which were often robo-signed documents. This means that the person signing the affidavit hadn't actually taken the time to verify the information contained within the sworn document - even though they were swearing under penalty of perjury that they had reviewed and verified the information. Penalties Issued Against Chase by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau In response to the illegal conduct by Chase Bank the CFPB came down hard. The Consent Order issued against Chase Bank provided the following: Chase Bank Must Cease Collecting on 528,000 Accounts: Chase Bank has been ordered to stop collecting on 528,000 consumer accounts that were sent to collections litigation between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2014. If Chase previously obtained a court judgment Chase must notify the consumer that they will not try and collect or enforce the judgment. Further, Chase is required to contact the three major creditor reporting agencies to request that the judgments not be reported. Chase Must Pay at Lea
27 minutes | Apr 22, 2015
CW17: Inside Job – Is the Debt Collection System Rigged Against Consumers?
Recently I watched the documentary "Inside Job" that discusses the build up and collapse of the financial system in 2008. It reminded me a lot of the debt collection system and how it tends to chew up consumers who aren't aware of the rules of the game. Whether it is the insane interest rates charged on pay day loans, to wrongful repossessions, to court's rubber stamping eviction proceedings or debt collection lawsuits, the "system" is not your friend and if you don't know what you are doing it likely will not end well. In today's episode of the Consumer Warrior Podcast I discuss how the system is rigged against consumers, what you can do to fight back, and why it is so important to assert your rights. Mentioned in this Episode: "Debtor's Hell" Boston Globe, 2006.
20 minutes | Apr 16, 2015
CW16: Tony Robbins, Winning with Money, and How to Fight Low Dollar Debt Collection Lawsuits
Like pesky mosquitos, I am seeing more and more debt collection lawsuits that are being filed by junk debt buyers where the total amount being sought is less than $1,000. And while a thousand bucks is a thousand bucks, in the realm of civil lawsuits it is an incredibly low amount for a debt buyer to file a lawsuit over. On today's show I discuss three strategies for making these annoying lawsuits go away for relatively little money. I also discuss: Is it necessary to hire a lawyer to fight back The importance of knowing the "rules of the game" if you represent yourself in court Why it is never about the "principle" and is always about the money Whether or not bankruptcy is a good way to deal with these types of lawsuits Tactics on getting the lowest settlement possible I also introduce a new mini-segment I would like to start on the podcast of sharing with you different books, apps, or other resources I use to educate myself on money, investing, budgeting, and generally becoming more money smart. Today I share my thoughts on a book I am reading by self-help coach Tony Robbins entitled MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. This is a great book on helping you to learn the "rules of the game" when it comes to investing your money. I have found it to be a book with a lot of actionable information but presented in a way that people who are new to investing - and those who don't have a lot of money to invest - can still learn the ropes and get started down a road that will make financial futures much more secure. Are you working on settling your debts? Check out this video on 4 Keys to Successful Debt Settlement - Image Credit: TonyRobbins.com
23 minutes | Apr 14, 2015
CW15: Fight Back Against Debt Collector Harassment
For those who have fallen behind on their bills it is not surprise that their creditors begin calling to ask when they can expect payment. What does come as a shock is the despicable tactics many debt collector will use to try and separate you from your money. On today's show I discuss how you can know if a debt collector is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and what you can do about it. I specifically address: Four ways you can know for sure if a debt collector has violated the FDCPA Strategies for making the collection calls stop How you can make $1,000 by suing an abusive debt collector How you can get a free attorney by suing an abusive debt collector How to when a debt collector is permitted to contact third parties like family, co-workers, and friends. In the podcast I share audio of various rogue debt collectors that I took from an ABC News story. Here is the video in its entirety: I also shared a clip from Dave Ramsey's book More than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny. Here is a link - I highly recommend the book: And finally, here is another video I did on how to turn the tables on your debt collectors and have them end up owing you. Subscribe to the Consumer Warrior Podcast in iTunes!
20 minutes | Apr 8, 2015
CW14: Teaching My 6 Kids About Money
Over the last twelve years I have met with thousands of families who needed to file bankruptcy to deal with their serious debt problems. And for many bankruptcy is truly a needed tool in dealing with troubled finances. But what about after the bankruptcy is over? Do people go back to the hold habits that lead to the bankruptcy, or is there a change? My numbers show that almost 20% of people who have filed for bankruptcy will file again at some point in their life. I have been thinking a lot lately about what I can do to assist clients who are transitioning out of a successful bankruptcy case and further what I can do to help families avoid bankruptcy in the first place. Much of my thinking has come from reading the Dave Ramsey library. My personality style is somewhat OCD and I tend to get an idea in my head and run with in a thousand miles per hour. That is how it has been with the Dave Ramsey books - I have read them all in about a three week period. And one of the books that most hit home was Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money. My wife and I have six children ranging in ages of 6 up to 15. As I look back on what money lessons I have been teaching my kids I am realizing they were few and far between. I also realize that over my life my wife and I have made numerous poor decisions when it comes to the way we manage our money - decisions that were not so much made because we were being irresponsible, but because we simply didn't have the knowledge or life experience to know better. In hopes of having our children avoid the mistakes that we made my wife and I recently started a new "allowance" program to teach our kids about work, saving, giving, and spending their money. Our framework is based upon the advice given in Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money with a few modifications. In today's show I share what changes we are making to the way we give our kids money for the chores they do as well as share an experience I recently had in
19 minutes | Apr 7, 2015
CW13: Can You Really Get By Without a Credit Card?
Credit cards. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Or can you? Without question the number one debt problem for most of my bankruptcy clients is credit ...
18 minutes | Apr 2, 2015
CW12: Timing is Everything in Dealing with Debt
It seems easy enough. You are in debt and want to get out. But surprisingly, when you decide to finally deal with your debt can make a big different on whether it is a short, efficient process, or whether it is a long drawn-out nightmare. In today's episode of the Consumer Warrior Podcast I discuss crucial timing aspects when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, settling debt accounts, and even the timing of when to file an FDCPA claim against abusive debt collectors. I also discuss some of the following: Is it a good idea to use your tax refund to pay off debt? Is bankruptcy a good option for retired people living on social security? How long do I have to file a claim against an abusive debt collector under the FDCPA? What time of year will I get the best settlement from a collection agency? Sometimes the window on effectively dealing with your debt problem can be pretty small. Don't miss this episode and don't miss your window of opportunity.
31 minutes | Mar 31, 2015
CW11: How to Settle Your Debts in 3 Steps
On today's show I answer the following questions: Who is a good candidate for debt settlement? Does it matter how many creditors you have? Are there any good debt consolidation companies out there? What is the "S.L.O." method to debt settlement? How much can I expect to pay as part of my debt settlement program? Will I get a 1099-C if I settlement my debts, and what will that mean for my taxes? Feedback from Last Week's Show on Dave Ramsey Last week, in episode #10, I discussed Dave Ramsey, his approach to bankruptcy, and my thoughts on it. I was somewhat surprised by the reactions and how strongly people felt on both side's of the issue. Do you have any opinion on Dave Ramsey? Head on over the The Consumer Warrior Project's Facebook page and let us know what you thing. The Consumer Warrior Project Facebook Page Is Debt Settlement a Good Option? There are a number of reasons that people want to seek out debt settlement as a way to deal with their debt problems rather than file for bankruptcy. At its most basic, debt settlement is simply paying a creditor less than the amount currently owed. There are a number of factors that determine if debt settlement will be successful, including: The Number of Creditors You Have. The Amount of the Debt. How much money you have saved or have access to. How delinquent the debt is. Do you have more questions on topics like bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt collection lawsuits, or wage garnishment? Head on over to the Consumer Warrior Project homepage for free access to hundreds of articles, videos, and audio podcast episodes. Click Here to Subscribe to the Consumer Warrior Podcast in iTunes!
23 minutes | Mar 26, 2015
CW10: Dave Ramsey, Bankruptcy, and Paying Your Debts
In the world of bankruptcy lawyers Dave Ramsey is somewhat of a controversial figure. If you don't know who Dave Ramsey is, he is an author and national radio talk show host who helps people get out of debt through his The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. Even though Dave Ramsey had to file for bankruptcy himself at a young age he is a vocal critic of bankruptcy and an advocate of solving your debt problems through intense focus on repayment of the debt. I learned of Dave Ramsey shortly after graduating was law school and my wife and I really enjoyed his books and principles for eliminating debt. Because of that l was somewhat surprised to learn than many attorneys who practiced bankruptcy law didn't really like Dave Ramsey and thought his critiques of bankruptcy were not well thought out. I am a big Dave Ramsey fan, and while I disagree on some of the points he makes as to why people shouldn't file for bankruptcy I generally agree with his comparison of bankruptcy to divorce - you should do everything you can to avoid, but sometimes it is necessary. In today's show I discuss the key points of Dave's position on bankruptcy and provide you with my disagreements and own thoughts on why sometimes bankruptcy is simply a necessary tool that families must choose. I also discuss why I think the The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is a great option for eliminating debt in this situations where bankruptcy isn't the best choice. Photocredit: DaveRamsey.com Leave Me a Review in iTunes!
23 minutes | Mar 24, 2015
CW09: When Banks Go Bad
When it comes to banks, brand loyalty is a real thing. I am always somewhat surprised when meeting with clients who are preparing to file for bankruptcy and they express such remorse at filing bankruptcy on a certain credit card account because "they have always treated me so well". They have treated you well because you are giving them money. If you want to really test how strong your "relationship" is with your bank try stop making those monthly payments. This bank that you are so devoted to will turn on you faster than you can say "overdraft charge". When I am in trial cross-examining the representative of a junk debt buyer like Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, or CACH, LLC on why it is that they believe the bank records they are testifying about are accurate, the response is usually - "the banks we work with are highly reputable and highly regulated, there is no reason to think their records would be anything but accurate". Oh, if that were actually so... In today's episode of the Consumer Warrior Podcast I discuss an article written in American Banker that was written about JPMorgan Chase Bank and their faulty credit card collection system, including robo-signed affidavits and falsified affidavits, computer errors, and law firms suing on error-filled documents. I will also discuss how the Office of Comptroller of Currency (OCC) investigated Chase Bank and Chase agreed to enter into a Consent Order where Chase agreed to clean up the misrepresentations and business practices when it came to documents submitted in support of their debt collection lawsuits. The Banks are not the pillars of the community that they represent themselves to be. If you are being sued by Chase Bank, Wachovia, or Washington Mutual I will show you how the American Banker article as well as the Consent Order can be used to fight back against the junk debt buyers. Leave Me a Review in iTunes!
19 minutes | Mar 19, 2015
CW08: Are Your Creditors Lurking Out There?
So much of the stress associated with serious debt problems comes from the uncertainty of the whole process. Often creditors will not take any action for months and even years. This can even lull you into a false sense of security that you are finally through the rough spots of your debt disaster, when if fact you may just be experiencing the calm before the storm. It is my experience that most creditors, and even junk debt buyers, are at least vaguely aware of when the statue of limitations will expire on a particular account. With this knowledge they will sometimes wait and then spring into action before the statute expires and they are barred forever from suing on the debt. The not knowing is the difficult part. Should you wait it out and see if the creditor is going to sue you? Or you should take the plunge and file for bankruptcy. You find yourself stuck in this catch-22 situation where action or inaction in either direction could have long lasting consequences. In today's show I discuss some of the resources out there that can provide you with tips and clues whether or not you should expect a debt collection lawsuit to come your way, or if you are finally out of the woods. One of the resources I mention in today's show is obtaining a current copy of your credit report. You can download a free copy of your credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies (Transunion, Equifax, and Experian) once per year at the following site: Annual Credit Report If you are enjoying the show I would love to hear your feedback. Click on the link below and leave me a review in iTunes!
34 minutes | Mar 17, 2015
CW07: Ignore Facebook Trolls! Why You Should Fight Back Against Abusive Debt Collectors.
Almost without exception when I post an article dealing with debt collection or bankruptcy on the Facebook Page for the Consumer Warrior Project someone will leave a comment like "pay your bills, then you won't have any problems!" or "life hack #1- pay your debts and you won't have to deal with debt collectors." If only life were so easy. It is my experience that those who most often make such comments don't have enough life experience to realize that many families (if not most) will go through financial difficulties of one degree or another at some point in their life. Whether it is an unexpected job loss, medical bills, student loans, or whatever...life happens and debt problems happen. In today's show I push back against the rants of the Facebook trolls who offer their simple (if condescending) financial advice on how to deal with debt problems. I further share with you the top reasons people end up with serious debt problems and why I think it is so vital that consumers fight back against creditors who are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.Subscribe to the Podcast or Leave a Review in iTunes!
19 minutes | Mar 11, 2015
CW06: When Can They Garnish My Wages?
One of the most misunderstood aspects of the debt collection process is knowing when a creditor can garnish your wages. Most families in the United States live paycheck to paycheck - meaning that an interruption in pay via a wage garnishment can create total chaos on your monthly budget and making ends meet. On today's episode of the Consumer Warrior Podcast I discuss when creditors can garnish your wages, why it is important to understand the difference between an unsecured and a secured debt, and why the typical rules on wage garnishment don't apply to the I.R.S., your student loan, and your local credit union.Review the Consumer Warrior Podcast in iTunes!
27 minutes | Mar 10, 2015
CW05: How to Know if Bankruptcy is a Good Option?
At times it can be difficult for people to even say the word "bankruptcy" let alone take a rational approach in determining whether or not it is a good option for their debt situation. If anything families wait far too long before making the decision to pull the trigger and file their bankruptcy case. It is understandable. There is a lot of baggage and preconceived notions that come with bankruptcy - fears of what it will mean for your future and what it means about your character. However, there are times when bankruptcy is not only necessary but will save you much financial heart ache in the years to come. On today's show I go over five factors you should consider in determining if filing bankruptcy is a good option for dealing with your debt problems, or if it is something you should avoid all together. Resources Mentioned in Today's Show Credit Card Pay-Off Calculator Bankruptcy Means Test Income Limits by State Have a Question You Would Like Answered on the Podcast? If you have a question you would like me to address on on the Consumer Warrior Podcast shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All names will remain confidential.
24 minutes | Mar 5, 2015
CW04: 3 Biggest Mistakes When Drafting an Answer to a Debt Collection Lawsuit
T.M.I. - Too Much Information. People often put way too much unnecessary, and potentially harmful, information in their Answers. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see consumers make when they decide to draft their own Answer to a Debt Collection lawsuit. The Answer is a fairly straight forward document in a debt collection lawsuit and yet at the same time it is one of the most vital. If you mess up your Answer - or worse, don't even bother to file one, you could find your debt collection lawsuit over before it even starts. On today's show I go over three of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they draft their own Answer to a lawsuit. While my recommendation is that you hire an attorney if you can afford do, the simple matter of it is that most people, overwhelming, don't hire lawyers. My hope with this episode of the Consumer Warrior Podcast is that will gain a basic understanding of the what Answer is, what it is not, some of the basic components, and hopefully help you avoid some of the common mistakes I see people make over and over. Need More Help Drafting an Answer? Check out My Video Course on Drafting Answers! If you need more assistance drafting the Answer to the lawsuit click HERE to check out my five part video course on How to Draft Your an Answer to a Debt Buyer Lawsuit. This course will walk you step-by-step through the process of drafting an Answer and provide you with visual instruction on how it is done and leave you more confident in navigating the legal process.