Medical Debt is Causing Big Problems for Consumers

Medical Debt is Causing Big Problems for Consumers Medical debt is causing big problems for huge numbers of consumers. The New York Time reports that medical providers and their debt collectors are unfairly hitting consumers with reports to the credit bureaus they have have not paid medical debts. One seemingly simple medical procedure may result in an avalanche of bills from hospitals, insurance companies and doctors. The bills themselves are often confusing as to what the consumer is supposed to pay and how long the consumer has to pay. Some medical providers charge huge amounts for simple procedures. Hospitals routinely...


Debt Collectors & Banks Scheme to Revive Old Debts

The WSJ reports that debt collectors are teaming up with some banks to offer a credit card to consumers who have old credit card debts. The old debts are barred by the statute of limitations. The debt collectors send misleading letters to the consumers stating that upon payment of a few hundred dollars on the old debts, the bank will issue a credit card. What the solicitations do not make clear is that the payment will revive the old debts. In other words, payment starts the statute of limitations running again. In California, the statute of limitations is four years...


FTC Rules Will Put Debt Settlement Companies Out of Business

By October 2010, new FTC rules will prohibit debt settlement companies from collecting fees on the promise they will reduce or settle a consumer debts. The rules are necessary because the debt settlement companies falsely advertise they can drastically reduce consumers’ debts by negotiating with the consumer’s creditors. The companies demand and get thousands of dollars in fees even though they do not accomplish anything. Consumers often pay the fees and end up in a worse position than when they started. The new rules should put these companies out of business. Query–why did it take the FTC so long to...


Court Holds Statute of Limitations for Telephone Bills is Only Two Years

A federal statute, 47 U.S.C. Section 415 (a), provides that the statute of limitations for civil actions to collect on unpaid telephone bills is two (2) years. Most state statute of limitations are much longer. California’s statute is four (4) years for debts based on contracts. New York’s law is six (6) years. In an interesting decision, a trial court in Queens County, New York, recently held that the two year federal statute preempts state law. If the decision is upheld on appeal, a significant number of collection actions involving telephone bills will be subject to dismissal. The key factual...


AAA Exits the Consumer Debt Collection Business

The American Arbitration Association has announced it was dropping its arbitration program for consumer debts. This comes only a few days after the National Arbitration Forum announced it was dropping its consumer debt arbitration program. Most of the cases involved credit card and cell phone debts. This is great news for consumers who could not get a fair hearing at AAA or NAF. Both had rigged their procedures in favor of the banks and corporations that paid their fees. Consumers lost 94% of the 214,000 cases processed by NAF in 2006.

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