Property Grunt

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't get mad, get even.

When people get pushed too far, they push back. And they push back hard.

Learning How to Fight the Collector

A former bill collector himself, Mr. Katz rebelled after a debt buyer damaged his credit score with what he says was a bogus bill. Mr. Katz sued, and in 2003 he collected his first damage award, a $1,000 check that he now keeps framed behind his desk.

“The bill collectors, when they call, make you feel like the only option you have is to lay down and play dead. That’s not true,” said Mr. Katz said, who does not charge for his advice. “Nothing validates this more than getting a check.”

Call this movement revenge of the (alleged) deadbeats. Even as collectors try to recoup debts from millions of Americans struggling to pay their bills, a small but growing number of lawyers and consumers are fighting back against what they describe as harassment, unscrupulous practices — and, most important to their litigiousness, violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In fact, 8,287 federal lawsuits were filed citing violations of the act in 2009, a 60 percent rise over the previous year, according to WebRecon, a site that tracks collection-related litigation and the most litigious consumers and lawyers on behalf of debt collectors.

What did you expect? People are losing their homes, losing their money and losing their s**t. The debt collection industry is booming these days as debts are being bought and sold.

In the real estate industry the circumference of debt collection ranges from mortgages, foreclosures to property liens. Property tax liens is a multi-billion dollar business and if you think your run of the mill debt collector is a pain the ass, a person who specializes in property tax liens is far more vicious.

As the story of Job has shown us, we can everything right in life and still be severely punished. Even if we avoid the financial pitfalls of life and maintain fiscal responsibility, s**t happens. So it is good to know the rules of the game in case someone breaks them and tries to get take advantage of us.

Mr. Katz said his Web site was not intended to help people avoid paying legitimate debts. But if they do so, so be it — he feels no need to apologize.

He said Congress gave consumers certain rights, and he is simply making people aware of them, sometimes colorfully.

We are always going to have douchebags who use the rules of the game to their advantage. How do you think we got into this mess in the first place?

Same fight. Different street.