Predatory Lending – A Final Settlement

| July 17, 2020

Although this article was originally published on Bloomberg Businessweek in Dec 2017, it was recently republished.

I thought this was valuable to make a post here because it shows some of parallel gumshoe work in hunting Stolen Valor thieves, especially when they use an alias, move from state to state, and keep changing their story.

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance

Andrew Therrien wanted payback. He got it—and uncovered a conspiracy.

Cartwright hung up, then called back, mad. He said he wanted to meet face-to-face to teach Therrien a lesson.

“Come on by, asshole,” Therrien says he replied.

“I will,” Cartwright said, “and I hope your wife is at home.”

That’s when he made the rape threat.

Therrien got so angry he couldn’t think clearly. He wasn’t going to just let someone menace and disrespect his wife like that. He had to know who this Cartwright guy was, and his employer, too. Therrien wanted to make them pay.

Many decades ago, I fell on hard times and was subject to predatory practices for many years afterward.  I did not realize that people sold debt.  I learned some things.

I owed $49 from a cable bill I didn’t pay because of a deployment.  I was single at the time.  I tried to get it removed from my credit report upon my return from deployment, but the cable company had already sold the debt.  Didn’t stop them from hooking me up again.  The debt collection company went out of business and I couldn’t pay them even though I wanted to.

Someone bought that debt and wanted me to pay it 12 years later.

Check your state laws for statutes of limitations.  Many times these old debts are invalid but the collection company is hoping you will send something, even $5, and once you do you reopen the entire account again and you now owe it.  If you ask them to send you proof with your signature that you owe the debt, often this ends it.

On another occasion, I was called about my student loan debt and I was out of work at the time.  I owed the money, so was shuffling my feet expressing sorrow and a desire to pay but remorseful I could not provide certainty with my situation and any anticipated payment.  The guy kept at it, and at it, and at it…

Finally, and I don’t know where this came from but I asked:

ME:  When you were nine years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

DEBT COLLECTOR:  This isn’t about me, this is about you.

ME:  No, it *is* about you. Most kids dream of being an astronaut or playing professional baseball, or becoming a doctor.  Most little boys don’t dream of being a debt collector.

DEBT COLLECTOR:  We really need to get back to —

ME:  My point is, somewhere along the way something didn’t work out for you.  That’s what recently happened to me… something didn’t work out for me.  Hopefully, my situation is temporary.  I didn’t hope and work toward being unemployed.  So, try and understand.

The words that came out of my mouth even surprised me.  I think it was because he backed me in a corner and kept pressing.  There was dead silence.  We wrapped up the call amicably.  I don’t know if I had an effect but I’d like to think he gave some thought to what I said.

Those were debts that I owed, so perhaps apples and oranges.  In Therrien’s case it all came to a conclusion.  Many times it takes someone willing to put in the time.  It defies logic, really.  Many people find it hard to believe that there are people out there like this community that care and put so much time and resources into finding out the truth behind someone’s lies.

Keep up the great work.

Category: "Teh Stoopid", WTF?

25 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Graybeard

Out of need to help feed her family, our daughter once worked for a payday loan company.

She tried to talk customers out of renewing the loans because they were digging themselves in deeper and deeper. The loan sharks didn’t like that.

Then there are the ‘collection agency’ scams. I’ve learned to cut them off quickly. I would have no qualms beating those parasites down.

The Stranger

I told one clown who was trying to collect from me on my stepson’s debt, “You got my address, motherfucker, come on by. I got something for you.” Fuck these collections assholes. In my case, my name wasn’t on the loan paperwork because I refused to co-sign for a motorcycle loan but the dude figured to call me since it’s very easy to track down who else lives in the home. He saw my name, which is very obviously Hispanic, and probably was going to try some “Migra” shit to intimidate me. Unfortunately for him, born and raised in the USA and no stereotypical Hispanic accent, so he ended up having a bad time. He kept saying shit like, “You can’t talk to me like that.” I told him, “What you gonna do? You’re breaking the law calling me and you can end the verbal abuse very easily, hang up and don’t call again.” He eventually figured it out, but I amused myself for 15 or so minutes calling him every name under the sun.

A Proud Infidel®™

Before Mrs. A Proud infidel®™ and I got married, she had a shitty Ex who mired her in some debt and after we got married I answered a call from a debt vulture who gave me his scripted bullshit. Said bullshit was answered with “Hey, I know that debt collection companies like yours buy accounts like this for pennies on the dollar and Call Collectors like you get a cut of what’s collected, so how about a better deal? I know people who work in collections and I know the game!” which was responded to with a tidal wave of cussing followed by a hangup after which I took another sip of beer while saying to myself “I WIN, you asswipe!”
Collection Outfits buy delinquent accounts for pennies on the dollar while running want ads braying about POTENTIAL income to telepests while paying pissant wages unless someone gets a good settlement and even then the scumbag managers cheat their pawns as best they can.

Ex-PH2

I got one for you, API. When I first bought my castle (some time back) I got a local number for my phone because land lines were still “a thing” at the time. My phone had caller ID, too, so I could call back or not answer or whatever.

I got a call one day from someone named “Woodard” who wanted money for an old unpaid bill for someone named “Morris Something or Other”, and I told him he had the wrong number, but he wouldn’t let it go. I finally hung up on him. Waited about 15 minutes, and then called “Woodard” back and asked him if he had caller ID. He said “Yes,” and I asked him if my name showed up on his caller ID and he said “Yes.”
Well, did that look like “Morris Whatever” to him?
No.
And then, I snarled “Get the right f- – – -ing number, asshole” and hung up.

For some odd reason, Woodard never called me again.

assemblerhead

They will keep hounding you for 20yrs or more. I do not have a land line phone because to this idiocy.

In my 20’s ( 1990ish ) … I got a cell phone from a major phone company. The monthly bill advertised was UNDER $50.

They never said anything about the taxes doubling the monthly bill.

That first month of service … I got laid off from work.

They wanted a $400 service cancellation fee, plus $100 per month of service left ( 12 Months ).

$1600 cash-on-the-barrelhead to get rid of the phone.
I could not pay.

The ‘debt’ got sold off to another company.

Never paid. Will never pay.

Hack Stone

Do you notice that all of the Car Title Loan companies are located in lower income (predominantly minority) communities? They advertise all of the time in the trash talk shows and Judge Judy.

“I had no money to take my dream vacation, so I took my car title down to We Break Legs Car Title Company, and got the cash that I need.”

So if you don’t have the money now, how the hell are you supposed to pay back what you borrowed, plus the interest, next month.

Occasionally, you will get some starry eyed state politician who will try to put forward some restraints on the industry, but the established politicians, most of the Democrats, will shut it down because they are providing “a needed service” to lower income people. The fact that loan industry pours buckets of money into campaign donations to these politicians does not sway them in the least.

Daisy Cutter

And the fees. Oh, the fees.

10% administrative fee
12% late fee
15% delinquent fee
05% “f#6# you” fee
07% “just because we can” fee

Hack Stone

Judge Judy had a case where some guy took out a car title loan to cover some bills for his girlfriend. Judge Judy asked to see the paperwork. Think it was around 135% interest. She asked how this is even legal. Even the Mafia doesn’t have the balls to charge that much.

Mason

Absolutely. Pawn shops, payday loan joints, and shady used car dealerships all over the ‘hood.

The ones that really surprise me, and simultaneously disgust me in the human race, are the immigrants who absolutely financially rape their own immigrant community. No shame about it either.

A Proud Infidel®™

” Pawn shops, payday loan joints, and shady used car dealerships all over the ‘hood.”

As well as Car Title Pawn scam shops near Military installations to financially prey on anyone they can.

NHSparky

We finance E-1 and up!

Still doesn’t stop some dipshit boots from buying used shit at 35 percent interest that isn’t worth half the cash price.

Hack Stone

Back when Hack Stone was at Camp Lejeune, there was some state rep who tried to pass some legislation of the “We Finance E-1 And Up” industry (looking at you, Devon Home Furnishings). Anyway, his bill stalled, he did not get reelected, then became a lobbyist for, wait for it… the “We Finance E-1 And Up” industry. One example of the predatory financing was two Sergeants at Fort Bragg who financed a 13″ television. They ended up paying $1300 for a 13″ television. That’s $100 an inch. This was about 1986, which was some serious cash to GI’s back in the day/

A Proud Infidel®™

I remember seeing a shop at Peachtree Mall in Columbus GA that tried to convince Soldiers that their merchandise was essentially “free” because they din’t pay straight out of the pocket. Instead, the salesmouth came right to you with a Payroll Allotment sheet for you to fill out and sign as soon as he thought you had your mind made up! Me? I turned around and left that prick standing there with his mouth open as I walked away thinking he wasn’t even worth the breath i would have spent cussing him out for his scumbag sales tactic.

A Proud Infidel®™

“Still doesn’t stop some dipshit boots from buying used shit at 35 percent interest that isn’t worth half the cash price.”

Or stop some Boot from buying a 15 year old klunker at 40+ percent interest!

OWB

Only time I got into one of these was over a step child’s surgery that we didn’t even know she had had much less have any input concerning it, the recovery or payment for same. The hospital billing department called demanding payment – the first we had heard about the surgery.

Rather shocking. At least they finally understood the wisdom of not expecting payment from us any more than if they had called random people from the phonebook making the same demands. They wouldn’t even tell us what the surgery was for. We were just supposed to pay for it evidently. We didn’t.

Ret_25X

I just had a call from the bank (literally just about 5 minutes ago) about a “delinquent payment”. So…I had my house payment on automatic payment through THEIR banking website. Apparently, the automatic payment just disappeared. Looked at the account, and there were no auto payments on the list anymore.

I told the caller that the reason for automatic payment is so that payments are automatic. If they cannot competently run a banking website service, that is their problem as I am not their IT Director and they can pound sand.

Hung up and rescheduled the auto pay, but enabled a recording tool to watch admin changes to the account.

Should be fun! I may have discovered another way the banks shave us…creating late payments through administratively deleting automatic payment in your web banking app.

That’s a pretty shady thing to do, but easy to catch if you know to look for it….

11B-Mailclerk

So far, I have been very happy with Credit Unions. On the one occasion of a glitch, the fix was “Holy Sonic Boom Batman!”

NHSparky

I actually had a few calls regarding bills my mother had racked up, including ambulance rides, etc.

Usually, “Have you called HER?” was enough.

In one case I had to send a picture of her cremation urn along with her (disconnected) number.

Dennis - not chevy

When my sister-in-law died my wife was in charge of her estate. The Mrs had to go the lawyers, banks, utilities, and gov’t offices to pay and close her sister’s accounts. The local property tax office was great (sarc), my wife presented the forms, power of attorney, and death certificate to which the bureaucrat offered her most sincere condolences. She then told my wife the deceased would have appear in person to sign the forms.

5th/77th FA

Parasites by the keypad lights. (apologies to meatloaf)

Keep a landline for my inherwebz connection and local/911 calls. It has an answer machine. If you don’t start talking or I don’t want to talk to you then just, oh well, too bad. My cell # is in the hands of a select few. (NO TEXT) I do ZERO (0) auto pays and ZERO (0) on line banking. And yeah, have still had phone calls like described in every above comment.

Decades ago, The Real Wayne, one of the FIRST of the buy here/pay here dealers that weren’t right outside the gate of a military installation, got away from selling the wore out, broke down, pieces of crap to E2 Snuffy and started selling the programs and computer support to other parasites that were selling said pieces of crap. Rule of thumb on those vehicles is whatever the down payment is, that how much the dealer has in it.

USAFRetired

I suspect everyone has something like these stories. I PCS’s from OK to Korea in 1985. My older sister moved into my house in OK so in 86 when it came time to file my taxes for 85 I filed using my previous address. My refund checks came to the house and she deposited them to my credit union account. In 1986 I PCS’d to Virginia. Fast forward 25 years to 2010, I get a letter in Goegia several PCS’s and retirement later from someone saying they are a collection agent and I owe them about $2200 for back taxes, interest, penalties and fees for OK income tax and if I didn’t pay in 10 days they were going to take action. I wrote them a letter, certified return receipt. It went to the address provided and promptly was forwarded to an address in OH. Color me suspicious. I contact the OK Tax Commission and they tell me yes that is their collection agent. So I asked them for the details of why they think I owe them tax. It seems they got a tape dump from IRS that I had filed a federal tax return from an OK address for 1985 but not a State return. I explained I was a military member non-resident of OK and had paid my SC taxes. They asked for a copy of my return as proof. Needless to say I couldn’t lay my hands on it after 25 years and several PCS’s. I… Read more »

Berliner

PCS’d from recruiting duty in Chicago to Schweinfurt Germany and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Battalion. Settled in and after a year got a certified letter from the New York state tax office because I had not filed a state tax return with them and now owed unpaid taxes and a fine. I had filed a federal return with a New York return address…. an APO New York address.

I had never lived in New York and the only time I had been there was changing planes going from Berlin to Recruiter school 6 years earlier. It took me 6 months of writing and calling before I turned copies of everything over to the JAG. I got a “never mind” letter a month later.

Hack Stone

And yet, they rolled out the red carpet any time that the “Reverend” Al Sharpton showed up at The White House between 2008 and 2016.

11B-Mailclerk

(A call at work – debt collector, way off target)

“Perhaps I should have (firstname) call you.”

“Why would I care?”

“He’s a General.”

“Is he going to pay me? I’m not in the army. Tell him I said (4Q2) ”

“Will do. He is a special kind of general. I do work for him all the time.”

“So what”

“General Counsel”

(Click)

Oddly, the matter dropped.

ArmyMed

I had a debt collector call me about a debt that we supposedly owed related to my son’s surgery. I had Tricare at the time, and they paid the bill. For some reason, a miscellaneous bill related to the surgery didn’t get paid. Not sure how it happened.
In any instance, he was 11 when he had surgery. Now he is 30.
When they requested payment, I was confused about which kid and what surgery. They responded it was from surgery in 2001.
My response was:
“The kid is now 30, and adult, and has been in the military himself for 12 years. Would you pay this 19 year old bill?”
The bill collector actually sided with me and said “no”.
So funny.