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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Put 'em in debtor's prison

What a world this has become. People used to accept responsibility for their actions. Now, we constantly hear "It’s not my fault."

Once upon a time, no one would consider buying anything for other than cash. Occasionally you would meet someone who had a "charge-it plate" from a department store but in most cases people saved for the things they wanted and paid cash for them. Others bought items "on time" and put them in "layaway" which meant that they did not get the item from the merchant until it was paid for.

Today, it is a different story. Many people have to have everything that comes down the pike and they have to have it NOW. Credit cards have been issued indiscriminately to people with bad credit who ignore their financial difficulties and charge items like there is no tomorrow. I’m sure they have no intention of ever paying for the junk they have bought but, oh, what the hell, maybe they can get another credit card to cover it.

Have you heard the ads on the radio for debt consolidation companies? What an industry they have going. They have some loser announce that he just can’t stand it anymore having all the phone calls from people wanting him to pay his bills. The poor guy: He went crazy with his credit cards and now can’t pay them. Imagine that, creditors wanting their money, the nerve of some people. But wait, there is a solution! He can call ACE Debt Consolidation and they will get his debt reduced by 60%!!

Here is what those guys do. They take on the sucker’s debts and make sure nothing is paid on them for at least 90 days. At the end of that time, the guy usually has accumulated a few bucks so they call the bank that holds his credit card and tell them that they can cover about 40% of the debt if they are willing to dismiss the rest. The bank figures they are lucky to get that much so they take it and charge off the rest as a bad debt. The bank has lost money and the credit card holder enters the deadbeat file. ACE gets a fee, of course.

I have never defaulted on a loan or credit card in my life so it annoys me that people can get away with not paying their debts. Knowing that their credit is shot is no comfort to me, someone else will probably give them a new credit card anyway. Paying your debts is about being a good citizen and showing you are honorable. Unfortunately, for many, that doesn’t matter.

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