Suing the collector is no way to repay a debt

The SE Texas Record Oct. 24, 2011, 7:13am

When you need money, lenders are a godsend. When they want their money back, they're a nuisance.

You can't blame them for demanding repayment. The money was theirs first and they wouldn't have lent it to you if they hadn't expected to get it back with interest.

Still, it's hard to pay back a loan when you don't have the means to do so.

There are people out there who borrow money with no intention of paying it back, but most people who fall behind do so reluctantly and only after exhausting other options.

Often, they've suffered some sudden setback such as losing a job or going through a divorce or having to care for or bury a loved one. An unforeseen expenditure or an unexpected reduction in income may have propelled them into insolvency.

To avoid defaulting on their obligations, they take on extra jobs, cut back to bare necessities, borrow from friends and relatives, and sell prized possessions at a discount. Eventually, their resources run out and they fall behind.

Then the calls start -- the calls from lenders who want their money back and have every right to be impatient.

You can tell them you just don't have it and that incessant phone calls won't change that unfortunate fact. You can threaten to sue for harassment or to declare bankruptcy. But still they'll call.

And why shouldn't they? You owe them money and are obligated to repay it.

Debora Bright is familiar with this scenario. She fell behind on credit card payments and the calls started. Over time, she says, they became abusive and she filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division, against the would-be collectors.

Now the taxpayers will see their tax dollars being used for some portion of the legal arguments and possible trial that will follow as the lawyers and a judge and maybe a jury decide the right and wrong of it.

We can sympathize with debtors who fall behind through no fault of their own. But a debt's a debt. We hope Bright's fortunes improve soon, so she can repay hers.

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