Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Revenge of the (Alleged) Deadbeats"

A BIDER fan tipped me off to an article appearing in the New York Times about a former bloodsucker turned avenger. Mr. Katz, a former debt collector, saw the error in his ways when a creditor ruined his credit over a fraudulent bill. He sued and won.

Since then, he has spearheaded the movement cleverly called "Revenge of the (alleged) deadbeats" by opening a school in Tuscon where he lectures debtors on the fine points of fighting debt. I would take it too if it didn't cost money.

A primary focus of his education is how to capitalize on creditors' unscrupulous debt collection practices: such as cell phone harassment and water-boarding. The number of lawsuits is amazing considering how many of our fellow debtors lay down and play dead:

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.On Wednesday, the Supreme Court made it even easier for consumers to use the courts to fight debt collectors, ruling that collectors cannot be shielded from suits by claiming they made a mistake in interpreting the law.

I am so happy that this movement is gaining speed. The fleecing of the middle, soon to be lower class, must stop. It is services such as Mr. Katz's that make Americans into educated DEBTORS and not just consumers.

A Minneapolis Attorney is conducting boot camps in conquering debt:

Peter Barry, a Minneapolis trial lawyer, is so bullish on the future of debt collection litigation that he holds several “boot camps” each year to share his secrets with other lawyers who want in on the action. If the debtor wins a court case under the act, the debt collector must pay the lawyer’s fees.
The next boot camp is being held in early May in San Francisco, at a cost of $2,495 a person for two and a half days of instruction.

Once again, if only I could afford it. I do think that giving Mr. Barry $2,495 is money well spent if you can avoid a lifetime of harassment and salvage your credit score. I would venture that I am not alone in my use of credit cards after law school to float myself until I started my clerkship in September. After all, when one graduates from law school he has arrived, has he not? We all know that THIS lawyer has not arrived (as in myself). As a consequence, I still have approximately $6000 in credit card debt that I have carried since I was 24.

Actually, I would like to share a sad--but true--story with you. When I was in college, I was a victim of the classic bait and switch. A tactic employed by colleges to draw students into enrolling, wherein a great financial package is available for freshman year and discontinued the year thereafter. I read about this in the book No Sucker Left Behind, which I am going to review and offer in a giveaway soon.

So, to pay for my college education I too engaged in unscrupulous practices. In addition to working 40 hours a week at 3 different jobs, I also wrote papers for people. I know it's wrong, but I was good at it and needed the money. So, my rate was $25/page and more in rush jobs.

I have been MIA lately because I have been working on litigation involving a partnership. I filed a motion and it was 45 pages long.
Now.... stay with me. I am charging a discounted rate of $60/hour because it's a friend and when you start out a practice you are eager for the money. For writing the motion, I charged the client $870.10. I was happy because that is more money than I have seen in a while. Then I realized that my college rate for the same "paper" would have been $1125. Why did I go to law school again? Oh yah, to earn $254.90 less than I did in the nineties. This goes under the category of "sad, but true."

1 comment:

  1. "But one can do ANYTHING with a law degree." For instance, you can: (a) collect public assistance; (b) make less than you did 15 years ago; (c) live at home; (d) work at Starbucks; etc.

    Who wouldn't want to slap down $150K of borrowed money, for these prospects?!



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