Attorney Billy Howard, founder of the Consumer Protection Department at Morgan and Morgan, has been quoted in a front-page news article in last weekend’s edition of The Wall Street Journal. The article, titled “For the Families of Some Debtors, Death Offers No Respite,” addresses the apparent growth of the death-debt collection business, in which collection firms target surviving family members to repay debts owed by deceased loved ones.
Mr. Howard was quoted in the Wall Street Journal article saying, “Collectors are starting to realize just how much money you can get from someone when they are at their most vulnerable.” According to law, surviving family members are rarely obligated to pay the debts of deceased loved ones, unless they were the co-signer on a credit card, mortgage or other type of loan. However, according to the article, debt collectors believe that these individuals have a moral obligation to pay the debt, particularly in instances where they reaped a benefit from purchases made by another. It has been alleged that some death-debt collectors receive payment based on the amount they are able to recover.
In 2011, Mr. Howard represented 50 individuals who were contacted by debt collectors in regard to a deceased family member’s debt; this number was up from 10 in 2010. He continues to advocate on behalf of consumers, holding debt collectors, banks and mortgage companies accountable for their conduct. If you suspect your consumer rights have been violated, contact us for a free case review.
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