Thousands of Consumers Sue Debt Collectors

The web site Credit Reporting & Debt Collection News claims that Chrystal A. Snow's $8.1 million debt collector judgment is a function of Texas law that would not be possible under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): The FDCPA does NOT allow for PUNITIVE damages unless it is a CLASS ACTION. The lack of punitive damages is a MAJOR flaw in the FDCPA. Debt collectors and debt buyers have NOTHING to worry about in MOST states, with California and Texas being notable exceptions. The "up to" ... read more

Woman Sues Debt Collector, Wins $8.1 Million

At courthouses across the United States, it has become increasingly common during the economic downturn for lawsuits to be filed against consumers to collect old debts. Lawyers who specialize in the practice are filing thousands of suits on behalf of large firms that have acquired debts from other companies. Although most people don't fight the suits and lose them by default, a Dallas woman bucked the trend last October. Chrystal A. Snow challenged the validity of a $9,000 debt in a Dallas County Court-at-Law and ... read more

Readers Have Never Paid for the News

British commentator Libby Purves has become the latest veteran journalist to declare that Internet freeloaders are ruining the newspaper business and they need to start paying for the media they consume, or else trained professionals like her will take their inverted pyramid and go home. In response to the switch of London's Evening Standard to free circulation, Purves writes: Call me a reactionary, call me a Murdoch lackey, but the fact is that, after a vague flirtation with the concept that "information ... read more

Advanta Closes One Million Credit Card Accounts

Advanta, a credit card provider for small businesses, announced today that it is shutting down all one million of its customer accounts on May 30. As a longtime customer I was told today via email that I must stop using the cards in four days. The bank has reassured me, however, that I may keep paying the bill after that date. "You may continue to pay down your account balance over time, as allowed under your Advanta Business Card Agreement," the email states. Since Advanta has been jacking up interest rates like ... read more

Bit.ly Builds Business on Libya Domain

The URL shortening service Bit.ly just secured $2 million in financing from investors including O'Reilly's AlphaTech Ventures. Though URL shorteners have been around for years, Bit.ly believes there's money in offering Twitter-friendly short links along with web analytics to track how the links are used. The company reports that its links were clicked 20 million times last month. So far, the news coverage I've read about Bit.ly has neglected an unusual aspect of the startup: It's one of the only prominent online ... read more

ScottsMoneyBlog.Com's Get-Rich-Click Scheme

The 11-day-old web site ScottsMoneyBlog.Com is selling an amazing money-making work-at-home business opportunity for only $1.98. "Would you like to make $5,000 a month posting a link on Google?" asks Scott Hunter in an ad I spotted today on the Drudge Report. "Get paid $5 to $30 for every website link that you post on Google. No one needs to buy anything from you or Google in order to get paid." I'm not clear on what Scott means by posting links "on Google," but he's wearing a tuxedo, so he must be rolling in ... read more

Newspapers Have Been Dying Since the '50s

Debra J. Saunders has an impassioned rant in today's San Francisco Chronicle about how we'll all be sorry when newspapers are dead: News stories do not sprout up like Jack's bean stalk on the Internet. To produce news, you need professionals who understand the standards needed to research, report and write on what happened. If newspapers die, reliable information dries up. ... I wonder who will be around in five years to cover stories. Or what talk radio will talk about when hosts can't just siphon from ... read more