Debts, Defaults and Details: Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection Litigation on Consumers and Courts
43 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 1, 2011
This Article explores consumer collection litigation through original research from more than five hundred cases filed in the Dallas County courts. It analyzes the data within the context of the modern debt collection industry, paying special attention to the role of debt buyers and to the peculiar legal issues their involvement raises. After explaining the methodology and mechanics used to gather and analyze the data, the Article discusses the data collected, identifying and analyzing the most significant findings and placing them within a larger legal landscape. While the research confirms anecdotal reports of litigation abuse in consumer collection cases, it also reveals some surprising patterns. For example, the research indicates that consumer default was not the most common outcome and that minimal effort by consumers often considerably helped to protect their rights and favorably to conclude the litigation. The Article concludes by discussing some of the implications for the judicial system and by suggesting additional areas of research that would increase understanding of the challenges the litigation presents for parties, their lawyers, and the courts.
Keywords: consumer, debt collection, FDCPA, empirical, debt buyer
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