Consumers who sue large corporations are always at a disadvantage. Among the many advantages the corporate defendant has is information.
Imagine in typical case. A large mortgage servicer demands money from a consumer. The consumer doesn’t owe the money. Months pass, and no matter how many times the consumer explains, the calls and the letters keep coming.
A study by British industry groups and academics recently set out best practices for debt collectors dealing with so-call vulnerable consumers. InsideARM, a US debt collectors’ trade publication has taken interest and encourages senior management to read it. Among the studies’ key findings were:
- 1 in 4 frontline debt collectors spoke to at least one consumer they “seriously believed” might commit suicide.
- Debt collectors need training concerning addiction and terminal illness – areas they (understandably) find difficult to discuss with consumers.
- Debt collecting businesses need to provide their staff with more support in identifying vulnerable consumers
- Ad hoc approaches to vulnerable consumers – such as temporarily ceasing collection to give the customer “breathing space” are not enough.
Judgments have serious consequences. In Maryland they last for 12 years, and are renewable. With a judgment, a creditor can garnish your wages, freeze your bank accounts, get a lien over your home or even seize your car. Sometimes people are surprised to find that there is a judgment against them. So, what can you do?