Daily Thoughts 12/05/2014
I checked the Twitter and Facebook for the library.
I enjoyed reading Bad Paper Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld by Jake Halpern. This book is an expose of how corrupt the system of buying and selling debt is. There are some wonderful ideas in here. One of the first is that if you wear a suit it is far easier to rob someone. This book exposes the seemy side of debt collection. It shows agencies will sometimes try and collect on the same debt multiple times. It also describes how debt often is not legitimate and does not have a clear paper trail.
There are a few things worth learning. Show up if you receive a judgement letter for debt in court. 90% of these letters are dismissed if you show up. There is an hierarchy to debt collection starting with the banks, going to top tier collection agencies, then smaller collection houses with a few people, then shady small agencies which buy debt for pennies on the dollar so they can try and collect it. The final layer are lawyers who send out collection letters. There are also a wide variety of types of debt ranging from mortgages, credit cards, cell phone bills, to payday loans. I liked the descriptions of people trying to collect debt from people who owed. One of the interesting ideas I get from this book is that many people want to pay but fall into traps where they simply cannot afford to pay their debts anymore.
Some of the accounts of the smaller agencies are gripping. It is where the law meets gray areas, where the agents sometimes use threats, and warnings of legal action to get the debtor to pay. It is also a world where agencies buy, sell, and steal debt from other agencies. The people running the agencies are often ex-gangsters, former drug dealers, or have unsavory backgrounds and are not averse to using a little physical contact to collect their money. There is a feeling when you read these accounts, you are reading about legal extortion, usury, and chicanery.
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