Daily, consumers throughout America receive collection letters claiming that s/he owes thousands of dollars on a delinquent credit card debt. Time and again, I and my fellow consumer advocates hear from clients who tell stories that mimic the facts described by the Court in Discover Bank v. Owens. In that case, an Ohio court found that Ms. Owens, an elderly woman who depended on a monthly Social Security Disability (“SSD”) check, had more than repaid the principal balance plus interest that she had borrowed on a Discover credit card.
We the undersigned consumer, civil rights and labor organizations write to commend you for introducing the Credit Card Reform Act. As the U.S. economy balances precariously on the brink of recession, this important legislation will protect financially vulnerable families from many harmful practices that credit card companies use to unjustifiably increase fees and interest rates.
While there is much to say about why we have a human-made disaster of this proportion, millions of American families are just desperately trying to cope with the reality of default or foreclosure on their mortgage loans, or are worried about looming difficulties in meeting their mortgage payments. I will try to address the unfair and deceptive practices targeting homeowners in foreclosure and how government can help protect these families in a time of intense distress.