Better off Deadbeat

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Ed Archer's picture
Ed Archer
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Better off Deadbeat

I don't advocate what this guy is doing but it is interesting reading none the less.

While most Americans with unpaid bills dread the collector's call, Cunningham sees them as lucrative opportunities. Many collection and credit card companies, intentionally or not, violate little-known consumer rights laws, and Cunningham's favorite pastime is catching them doing so and then suing them. In fact, it's a profitable side job.

Call it ironic, but the only house on the block that appears to be the foreclosed end to some sad financial story is in fact the home of one of the debt collection industry's emerging and persistent threats. Cunningham calls himself a private attorney general—someone who files private lawsuits in the public interest. Debt collectors call him a credit terrorist.

Patrick Lunsford, who edits InsideARM, a trade magazine for the debt collection industry, knows the term. "There is a sub-group out there that does actually advise people on how to bait [collectors]," he says. "That's something that really gets under the skin of, well, obviously, collectors."

Cunningham beats the debt collectors at their own game. He turns their money-making practice into a financial liability. He is a regular guy who has become a radical enemy of the banking system.

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Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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Re: Better off Deadbeat

Poor debt collectors. We all know them to be such an understanding bunch. How dare Cunningham call into question the legality of what they do.

rhare's picture
rhare
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Re: Better off Deadbeat

Poor debt collectors. We all know them to be such an understanding bunch. How dare Cunningham call into question the legality of what they do.

Why the hatred of debt collectors?  I'm assuming this was just a little sarcasm.

I worked in the collection business (not a collector), and I'll tell you the amount of hoops collectors have to jump through and the massive amount of regulations are insane.  Our company spent huge amount of time training people in legal collection techniques. There are many people like this Cunningham who sue over the smallest technicality.   It's stupid and a sign of the trouble we are in?

Why would you support a person commiting fraud? Do you leave that only for the government?  People go out and buy crap they don't need then decide to stick it to the merchant, how can you support this?   The company I worked for collected for small businesses.  How would you like it if you sold your services/products to a customer who then refused to pay?  I bet you'd be just a bit less sarcastic.

 

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nickbert
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Re: Better off Deadbeat

I actually worked as the head computer goon for a year and a half at a local branch of a debt collection agency.  While I was not involved in collections, I still overheard quite a few calls and saw how it was all run.  The management heavily emphasized what was legal and allowed and what was not, and I'd seen at least one collector fired for being abusive (I suspect at least a few others during that time were also fired for the same reason).  I doubt they were doing this purely because of their sense of justice, but still they were pretty keen on keeping things legit.  I say this primarily so people don't automatically assume that they'll be able to fight collection attempts in this manner.

It was a sad place to work.... lots of fraudsters and deadbeats to be sure, but also a lot of people overwhelmed by stuff beyond their control.

- Nickbert

signalfire's picture
signalfire
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Re: Better off Deadbeat

<"When you or I make a mistake, they say, 'Hey, tough nuts, be smarter next time, you know, bad luck, didn't work out for ya," he says. "When the fat cats on Wall Street make a mistake, they say, 'Oh, national emergency! We've got to bail these guys out."

Since nobody has showed up to bail Cunningham out, he's decided some of the $100,000 debt he once amassed will never get paid back.

"I already paid them off," he says. "The government took my money without asking me and gave it to the banks. And since I owe the banks money, but they already got my money from the government, I say we're even.">

Bingo!

Hey, Hrare up above, maybe the small business owners should only accept cash, like in the good old days, before BILLIONS of credit card offers were mailed out to everyone, including children, pets, and the variously unemployed, all exorting us to 'take a vacation, redo the kitchen, you deserve it!!!' and before every single place you looked, teevee, radio, billboards, magazines and newspapers, were FILLED with ads telling you what you needed and wanted and couldn't possibly be happy and complete without...

Maybe the people who work for collection agencies should find something productive to do with their lives.

Maybe the banks that are running a ponzi scheme based on other people's labor should be known for the criminals that they actually are. (Bernie Madoff was a piker compared to Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo, not to mention Goldman!) 

All that money that everyone supposedly owes was LOANED INTO EXISTENCE!!! It wasn't you borrowing money from Uncle Fred that he had to work hard for, it was all of us borrowing fake money from a con man, and being asked to replace it with huge amounts of interest and REAL work.

I'm in the process of defaulting on both my mortgage and my credit card bills.  Tried to refinance the mortgage, they told me I was 'too underwater on it', (not to mention they couldn't seem to find the original paperwork, since the mortgage was bought and sold at least five times in less than 3 years).  The credit card companies now, after 3 months and counting, seem terribly concerned about 'my credit rating' and 'my ability to continue to be served by them' and are now sending me nice messages about 'lowering my interest rate and waiving late fees'.

Tough noogies. They shoulda done that in the beginning. It was the last late fee for 39 bucks (A DAY LATE?????) and I decided to hell with them all. I'm DONE with this fake criminal economy, fake criminal government and fake moral system that allows us to pretend we're a peace loving, moral country while we bomb everyone else on the planet.

 

rhare's picture
rhare
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Re: Better off Deadbeat

Hey, Hrare up above, maybe the small business owners should only accept cash, like in the good old days, before BILLIONS of credit card offers were mailed out to everyone, including children, pets, and the variously unemployed, all exorting us to 'take a vacation, redo the kitchen, you deserve it!!!' and before every single place you looked, teevee, radio, billboards, magazines and newspapers, were FILLED with ads telling you what you needed and wanted and couldn't possibly be happy and complete without...

It's generally not credit cards.  It's generally invoices and checks. I know I often buy things (particularly) services that are invoiced, I write a check.  If you pay with credit card, the business generally doesn't eat the fraud as long as you met the rules of the card association and validated the card.  That is the issuing bank that eats the write off from the consumer.  Also, many business still take checks because carring around a wad of cash for anything but the most minor purchases is stupid. Also, much of the collection is done for B2B (business to business) where invoices net-30 is common.

Maybe the people who work for collection agencies should find something productive to do with their lives.

Hmm, I guess you get to decide what is productive or not.

I'm in the process of defaulting on both my mortgage and my credit card bills.

While I agree we should not be bailing out business that made bad mistakes and stupid decisions.  We also should not be bailing out homeowners and people who cranked up their credit cards. 

I hate to tell you this, but buying stuff you clearly couldn't afford and then using the excuse that we bailed out the banks therefore you shouldn't have to pay is fraud!  Your a theif and you apparently have no remorse for doing so. While defaulting on your mortgage and credit cards isn't directly hurting some small business, your certainly screwing some pension holder, someones retirement funds, etc.  What do you think happens when you don't pay? Some shareholder of a mutual fund they plan on for retirement gets paid less.

While I'm not a terribly religious person the commandment "Thou Shall Not Steal" seems pretty good, and should be applied to everyone: individuals, governments, and businesses.  So next time you decide to just not pay what you have promised, or decide to violate copyright on software or music, give a bit of thought to who you are stealing from.

Whatever you do, next time you don't get paid because someone decided they were pissed off about other crap, remember you did it to someone else first.

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
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Posts: 1443
Re: Better off Deadbeat

Well the collection agents I have had contact with were, lets say, unprofessional. The last one said he was going to increase my check garnishment. When I told him it was already at capacity and there were others waiting in line he said

 "Well what if we just garnished half of your check, what if we did that?"

So my experience isn't positive. You don't think collection agents aren't underpressure to pressure the people they call? Come on.

In my case it wasn't going out and buying electronics and cars it all came form school loans that were jacked up each time they were sold off to someone else. I'm sure thats in the fine print somewhere if you want to read 300 pages with your lawyer. The truth is nobody's hands are clean in the debt disaster not even the bill collectors.

rhare's picture
rhare
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Posts: 1329
Re: Better off Deadbeat

In my case it wasn't going out and buying electronics and cars it all came form school loans that were jacked up each time they were sold off to someone else. I'm sure thats in the fine print somewhere if you want to read 300 pages with your lawyer. The truth is nobody's hands are clean in the debt disaster not even the bill collectors.

Yes, you should have read the fine print, with a lawyer if necessary, or you don't sign a contract!  If you choose not to read it, I do on occasion because yes it's a pain, but you have to ready to accept the consequences.  That's why when on all mortages I have really annoyed the title agencies when I sit and read every document - although in most states you have 3 days of recension on first mortgages.

So my experience isn't positive. You don't think collection agents aren't underpressure to pressure the people they call? Come on.

Did you expect it to be pleasant?  Why? Your defauting on someone.  Would you be pleasant if someone was defaulting on you?  Particularly since this clearly wasn't the first time you were contacted.  I suspect the first few letters and calls you got were pleasant, but I completely expect things to get a bit more confrontational later in the process.  Don't get me wrong, there are definitely unscrupulous collectors and agencies out there, but I would say the most of licensed agencies are on the up and up.

I don't think anyones hands are clean either, it's just when people say "I'll just screw the banks" or "those collectors are evil", it's a sign of not accepting responsiblity for ones actions.  Everyone is going to feel pain because we have all lived well beyond our means.  The sooner we quite trying to find blame and start letting the debt destruction occur the better. 

So what shoud happen:

1) We don't bailout anyone.

2) Debtors need to be negotiating with their creditors to either reduce principal or lengthen payment arrangements or they default and the creditor has to accept their pain.

3) People, governments need to stop spending and making things worse.

4) We all accept the pain that is coming, or risk greater pain.

Do I expect any of this to happen, No.  I suspect we will keep bailing out banks and the TBTF.  People will keep defaulting with little thought or due to necessity (no job, no money).  We will then rescue all those people by debasing the currency even more all the while making goverment bigger and more intrusive until the government fails, then ?.

signalfire's picture
signalfire
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Posts: 34
Re: Better off Deadbeat

You are presuming I charged things "I couldn't afford".  At the time I did it, I could afford it. Then the bubble burst, and a lot has happened since to everyone's income and net worth,  not to mention the interest rates that seem to change on a whim, ahead of pending changes in federal law.  Oddly enough, I'd rather have food on the table and a semi-solvent business than pay back some Wall Street or North Dakota Godfather Syndicate.  If they hadn't blown up the cost of everyone's housing by giving a mortgage to anyone who could fog a mirror,  then all our houses would have cost less, and I would have had the money left over to actually pay the other bills.  They brought their insolvency on themselves but only THEY got bailed out.

I'm not screwing any pension holders, that's the credit default swap scheme guys who did that, selling securities that the insiders termed, "vomit."  And oh, by the way, MY 401K turned into a 200.5K also, so I lost there like everyone else.

Ya wanna know what happens when I don't pay?  NOTHING!  They all go and conjure up the money out of thin air some other way.

I paid PMI insurance on my home loan, I was required to. So that's paid off, isn't it? And, they get the house back, if they can prove they actually hold the title. They seem to be having problems doing that, which I find hilarious. How many other people are sending a grand or two to B of A, late of Countrywide, late of three or four other mortgage companies, who can keep track, when in reality NO ONE HOLDS THE TITLE?  It's Gone, Lost, Gee Whiz no where to be found, oh well, it's not important, where's our money, deadbeat? 

As far as my deciding what gainful employment is, at the very least, trying growing something for people to eat, or producing a product that someone wants. Being the kneecap breaker for a mafioso syndicate is not gainful employment. You were just a Roman soldier, doing what the wack job Roman emperor tells you to do, in return for a few coins, stained with blood.

As far as the 'your a theif' comment?   Try going back to fourth grade where you learn how to spell and the correct grammar needed in that sentence.  Maybe then you can get a better job besides working for a collection agency.

And don't quote me the bible.  It's immoral to try to deal morally with an immoral entity, and that's what all these banksters are. If you don't believe me, look at the amortization schedule for a modest house and how much money you have to pay them before you ever get any equity. It's a scam. It's all a scam, and we're the slaves.

rhare's picture
rhare
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Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1329
Re: Better off Deadbeat

At the time I did it, I could afford it.

They They They....

That's the problem I have.  You seem to want to blame everything on someone else. And no, you couldn't afford your mortgage clearly since you can't afford it now.  You most likely commited to 30 years of payments.  Did you choose to buy a house (I did) during the run up, thus contributing to the housing bubble?  Since you didn't mention loosing your job, I'm guessig you didn't, rather you probably are one of the many thousands of people who speculated that housing prices would go up forever and lost (as have I).  The difference is I'm accepting responsiblity for my poor decision - hence why I'm eating ramen at the moment.

Maybe then you can get a better job besides working for a collection agency.

Hmm, you have no idea what I do?  As far as spelling and grammar, yes, I'm a poor speller - although both the missing apostrophe and the swapped letters were typos.  (Side note - anyone know why the spell check functionallity on the site went away?)

or producing a product that someone wants.

Let's see, collection agencies exist, therefore someone must want them.  As far as getting a better job, I happen to be paying my bills, so who is contributing to the world in this situation?  Also because I haven't spent all my money I'm able to invest in things like solar for my house, supplies for the garden, investment in alternative energy companies and food production.

And don't quote me the bible.  It's immoral to try to deal morally with an immoral entity, and that's what all these banksters are. If you don't believe me, look at the amortization schedule for a modest house and how much money you have to pay them before you ever get any equity. It's a scam. It's all a scam, and we're the slaves.

If you don't like paying interest, and were  well informed at the time you bought a house since I'm positive you were given the amortization schedule as well as a disclosure of the total amount of interest you would be paying, why did you buy a house? 

Ya wanna know what happens when I don't pay?  NOTHING!  They all go and conjure up the money out of thin air some other way.

Am I happy with the bankers, hell no.  They shouldn't be bailed out.  Also, if you look at who gets hurt by all this crap, it's not those living on the edge with way more debt that assets, it's those with capital who have lived responsibly.  For those with only debt, just walk away while those who have saved get punished by inflation and massive taxes to help pay for all those less responsible parties.  As far as your comment about "nothing" happening, you've watch the crash course, what happens when they print money?  Inflation, so when you say nothing, you mean "not much" to you and a "little bit" spread out to everyone else.  A bit selfish, don't you think?

So, please, next time you want to rant, replace "THEY" with "I".  Take some responsibility. 

I hope you get lucky if you get foreclosed and they lost the title.  I find it quite amusing as well and the banks deseve to get punished for foolish mistakes like that.

 

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