Consumer Credit Law

Consumer Credit Law: Creditors, Debtors, Attorneys and Judges

In today’s economy, when pillars of our communities may be facing extreme financial crisis, debt collection lawsuits or bankruptcy, it is no longer fitting to call someone a “deadbeat” for not paying their credit card bills.

This is especially true in light of much of the conduct of banks toward their customers. Banks lie about mortgage modifications, fail to properly perform foreclosures, and increase interest rates on credit cards without reason or prior notification just to name a few of abuses in the industry. Is it too big a leap to think that creditors would be dishonest or unfair in the way that they conduct litigation?

As I travel the courtrooms of the state of Georgia, arguing on behalf of the citizens of this state, one thing becomes increasingly clear. When it comes to consumer credit cases, many judges just don’t get it.

Judges are elected by the citizens of the district they serve. The people who are sued and come before them as defendants in debt collection lawsuits are the same people that pull the levers in the voting booths on Election Day. Citibank does not vote for the judge. Citibank is in South Dakota. Chase Bank is in Manhattan, New York. Discover is in Illinois.

American Express, Capital One, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are all non-residents of the State of Georgia. Nevertheless, many of the judges in this state go out of their way to cater to the interests of these banks at the expense of the citizens who elect them to serve.redirected here!

To be clear, I do not think that judges owe any special treatment to defendants in civil suits because they want to get their vote, but they do owe the citizens of their circuit the duty to be fair and impartial in their rulings, and to treat them and their lawyers with respect.

The bank is not always right. Creditors should also have to follow the same procedures and meet the same evidentiary burden that all other litigants must meet under Georgia law. All too often, I have seen judges who become angry and have even threatened me with sanctions for having chosen to defend my clients against a debt collection lawsuit, or for me insisting that the creditors prove their case according to law.

Some judges are of the opinion that since the lawsuit is for a consumer debt, unless the defendant denies making the purchases, or claims to be a victim of identity theft, that they have no defense. They do not generally come to this opinion because they are well versed in this area of the law. I usually find the opposite. They get indignant because these types of cases are rarely defended against; leaving the appearance that there is no defense. The thinking is that “the way we have always done things has not been challenged, so it must be right.”

When a challenge is made to the way a judge is used to handling debt collection lawsuits sometimes it is met with anger because their understanding of these cases leads them to believe that I am wasting valuable court time on a frivolous and indefensible matter instead of advancing the cause of consumers and helping to shape the law on this subject.see page at:

What these judges seem to have forgotten is that the law is alive. You cannot expect it to stay the same and cannot base your notions of morality or correctness on its current state. Slavery and “separate but equal” were the laws of this land at one time. Women were once denied the right to vote.

Consumer Credit Law

Prohibition was enacted and repealed.

Currently, same sex marriage rights are being established in courts throughout this country and marijuana laws are being relaxed and repealed in many states. The way we view consumer credit and the role that consumer financing should play in the economy of this country is also changing, and the laws and attitudes of those that interpret the laws need to change as well.

Credit Revolution

A Credit Revolution: Have you made enough or paid enough?

Can you feel it? If you listen carefully, you can hear it. It is in the news, in the mood of the country, and in the pocketbooks of the people. There is a revolution coming. Nothing less than the economy of the country and the ability of the American people to access their ”American Dream” are at stake.

People are justifiably angry that our elected officials saw fit to declare that certain banks and businesses in this country were “too big to fail,” in order to justify the raiding of the national treasury to fund the operations of these banks. Just as infuriating is the fact that the money taken from taxpayers to pay these banks was re-paid with increased interest rates, fees and other charges paid by debtors.

The American people have paid twice for these banks to maintain the ability to prey on the public and now face record deficits for which they will have to sacrifice their hard earned money yet again. What people have started to realize in record numbers is that to live in debt is to be living a lie.see link here!

Five years ago, I would hear people brag about their credit scores as if they were talking about how much they could bench press. A high credit score was a form of prestige and a source of pride.

Someone discussing their strong character would mention their credit score in the same breath with their religious devotion and their education. But, what does a high credit score really mean? Does it mean that you are a better person, or even a better borrower, than someone with a lower credit score? Does it really mean anything more than you incur and pay a lot of debt?

What many are discovering is that while they played by the bank’s rules for years, paying down credit cards, keeping many open accounts, watching their debt to income ratio, etc., the banks will simply change the rules when they need or want more money. Credit card companies needing more cash simply increase interest rates and minimum payments regardless of your precious credit score. If they no longer want you to spend, they can drop your credit limit, thereby affecting your available credit and dropping your score.

Credit scores are nothing more than the gold stars you got as a kid for not wetting the bed. “Here is your high credit score, now be a good little borrower and go get another loan.” I speak every day with people who had exemplary credit before they lost jobs or income.

But, now struggling to make a mortgage payment on a home with negative equity, and dealing with credit card companies that would not reduce interest rates while they were receiving timely payments, but are now willing to accept .30 on the dollar now that the payments stopped, credit scores suddenly seem less prestigious. When you get a mailbox full of credit card offers weeks after filing bankruptcy, it starts to become clear.her latest blog:

Credit Revolution

The banks need you way more than you need them and their credit scoring system. Barack Obama made the remark not too long ago that at some point, you’ve made enough money. What is hilarious about that comment is that he wasn’t talking about himself, or the banks, or anyone receiving TARP funds from the government, he was talking about us. I am not sure we will ever hear how much Obama considers “enough.”

I don’t know if there is a point where you have have made enough money, but I do know this…there is a point, where you have paid enough.