Although the economy seems to be improving, many families in Cincinnati are still struggling. Many households are still attempting to recover from a stint of unemployment, and this often means struggling to get on top of bills that have gone into debt collection. For many families, they are in too deep to recover.
Many people in Cincinnati and throughout Ohio live in constant fear of the next ring of their telephone because they worry that on the other end of phone there might be a creditor ready to harass them about why they have not made their payments.
Military personnel, veterans, and their families are often the targets of aggressive or unscrupulous debt collectors. Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is keeping statistics, it's possible to quantify a degree to which abusive debt collectors target service members in Ohio and elsewhere around the country.
A debt collection firm named Aeon Financial foreclosed upon more than 400 properties in Cuyahoga County, the largest county in Ohio. The company also apparently had purchased a number of liens in other states across the country as well. Yet what is truly unusual about these circumstances is the fact that Aeon information lists no owners or company website. Its operations stem from mail-drop boxes in Chicago and the company apparently is represented by a law firm with a Colorado address.
For burdened debtors, abusive debt collection can be a nightmare. Or, if not a nightmare, then at least what wakes them up from a nightmare. Calling in the middle of the night is one of many abuses aggressive debt collectors engage in. Unfortunately, the law governing debt collection is outdated and does not address the many abuses debtors are now facing.
We all age in different ways. One 85-year-old man runs marathons while another is wheelchair-bound due primarily to the inevitable aging of his body. But no matter how we age, it tends to be an unavoidable truth that we require more medical care as we advance significantly into our elderly years. It is of little surprise then that both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both recently published stories about how more elderly Americans than ever are grappling with unmanageable medical bills.
People who are faced with overwhelming debt may be good candidates for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way for a consumer to have most debts discharged, and emerge with a fresh financial start. Many Ohio consumers, however, might not understand exactly what it means to have debts discharged.
After years of negotiations and press scrutiny, five of the nation's largest banks settled with both federal and state officials in early 2012. In their settlement, the banks assured officials and the American public that their widespread abuse of the foreclosure process was history not to be repeated ever again. Unfortunately, these promises remained intact for fewer than two years. The media has been reporting in recent months that flagrant abuses of the system and of homeowners are continuing unabated.
When individuals age, their finances do not necessarily mature at the same rates as they do. As a result, it is certainly possible and increasingly common to reach the age of retirement and beyond while still wrestling with seemingly unmanageable debt. Frustratingly, if this debt is not dealt with in a constructive way, not only will those in debt be potentially plagued by creditor harassment but their loved ones could also be burdened with certain debts after the elderly debtors have passed on.
When consumers are faced with harassment and other abuses committed by big banks, the law generally favors consumer protection but such protections can be difficult to enforce. One state has become frustrated enough on behalf of its citizens who are navigating a legally complex and often abusive web of credit card debt that it has said "enough." California is currently suing banking giant JPMorganChase for allegedly committing "debt collection abuses against tens of thousands of California consumers," according to the New York Times and state court records.