HRW: Rubber-stamp justice punishes the poor

New report outlines how debt-buying practices push the poor further into poverty and abuse the court system.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Al Jazeera America
January 21, 2016

Tags: Consumer Protection, Debt Collection, Pro Se/Self-Help

Organizations mentioned/involved: Mobilization for Justice (New York City)


A report released on Thursday by Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York–based rights group, said the system instead paves the way for the debt-buying industry to abuse the court system while pushing disadvantaged families deeper into hardship.


Debt-buying practices have come under scrutiny recently, with a number of high profile law suits leading to massive settlements.

But according to HRW, many of the problems lie not with the debt-buying companies but with the courts adjudicating these cases.

“We’re not arguing that debt buyers shouldn’t be entitled to collect legitimate debts or use the courts to do that,” said Chris Albin-Lackey, the report’s author. “The point is that there have been so many very profound problems with litigation that debt buyers have brought across the country that courts really need to be treating them with some reasonable degree of vigilance.”