There are two parts to this story. Part I, for the lawyers: the 4th Circuit ruled on Powell v. Palisades Acquisition, ruling that debt buyers are subject to the FDCPA when filing an assignment of judgment: "it would be incongruous now to hold that an assignment of judgment filed in a debt collection action is not similarly subject to the FDCPA, given that a debt collector who obtains a judgment through a successful summary judgment motion stands in exactly the same position as a debt collector who files an assignment of judgment."
Part II, for everybody: look at how insane the parts of this collection case were that were completely legal, and in fact enabled by the law.
In 2000-- in a time before cell phones, 9/11, the Iraq War, and the Dot Com Boom, literally during the Clinton administration-- Aleta Powell fell behind on a credit card bill during a bout of unemployment. In the Year of Our Lord 2015, she will still be dealing with this debt. 5/33 of a century later! In 2003, the bank sued her, but relented after she agreed to a payment plan. When she missed a payment, they got an uncontested judgment against her at Maryland's statutory interest rate of 10%-- almost double the rate here in Minnesota, which is one of the few states to set a reasonable judgment interest rate. The bank sold the judgment to a debt collector in 2007. The debt collector, as debt collectors often do, broke the law to try and collect the money from her. Had the case not landed before the 4th Circuit, this would have been a completely unremarkable case.
Let's compare the beginning and present, here: when 15 years younger, Ms. Powell fell behind on an $8,000 credit card bill. That bill today, with Maryland's statutory interest, is $21,519.28. Wow.
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