debt collection

In April 2016, New Economy Project filed a federal lawsuit against the debt collection law firm Kavulich and Associates on behalf of Romain Prage, a low-income New Yorker. The lawsuit alleges that Kavulich violated federal debt collection and state consumer protection laws, and explicitly subverted New York’s Exempt Income Protection Act. Mr. Prage is seeking monetary and injunctive relief.

You’ve just been robbed. Worse yet, you know who did it. It was the last few dollars to your name and you don’t get paid for another month. Three weeks pass, and an envelope containing the stolen money appears on your doorstep. You go to court to demand justice, but the judge rules that no crime has been committed – after all, you got your money back. The judge says it’s no big deal you had to wait three weeks to get your money back.

Does this sound like justice?

MarketWatch — “It’s a pleasure to be here, finally,” are not the words you might expect to hear from someone preparing to share their story of student debt woe to a room full of strangers. But that’s exactly how John Carter, a 77-year-old New York City resident, began before recounting the years of hassle he faced becoming current on his debt to a group of advocates and regulators gathered to hear how the student loan crisis is affecting New Yorkers like him.

Debt collectors engage in rampant fraud and systematically use the courts to extract billions of dollars from low-income people and people of color, according to hard-hitting testimony delivered today by Susan Shin, New Economy Project’s legal director. Shin traveled to Sacramento, California to share our expertise from years of working with thousands of low-income New Yorkers aggrieved by discriminatory and abusive debt collection.

A new report from Human Rights Watch cites New Economy Project’s research in an examination of the pernicious effects of the debt buyer industry, which exploits the nation’s courts to drain millions of dollars from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.