The Credit Industry Lobby has Succeeded in Convincing the Alabama Legislature to Make it Easier to Sue Customers.
Once again, a big business lobby has convinced some of the fools in Montgomery to propose a bill that would help the huge-money finance industry at the expense of ordinary working people. It’s a move that is pretty typical for Alabama’s Hyper-Conservative legislature, the majority of which is always ready to do the bidding of industry lobbyists.
The bill, which doesn’t yet have a name, would give credit card companies six years to sue its customers, regardless of which legal theory they are suing under.
Alabama’s current law on credit card statutes of limitations is surprisingly complex, because the statutes were written way before credit cards had been invented. Suffice it to say that some credit card cases can be brought within 6 years after the date of default, but others must be brought within three years.
The three year statute that applies to credit card lawsuits brought under the “open account” legal theory has helped thousands of Alabamians save hundreds of thousands of dollars from wage garnishments and adverse credit reporting. Is this a good thing?
Well, sure, sometimes this allows people to get away from paying debts, but despite what the credit industry would have you think, very very few collection lawsuits are filed against deadbeats. Most people want to pay their bills and try very hard to do so. But sometimes they just can’t. Maybe because they’ve been laid off, or their wife got cancer, or they got a nasty divorce that took all their assets. So escaping a wage garnishment or judgment is often the thing that saves people from being forced into bankruptcy.
So shame on State Rep. Marcel Black for proposing this law. One can only wonder what “favors” he received from the finance industry for betraying the citizens of this state.
And also, what’s wrong with requiring banks to sue within 3 years? That’s plenty of time to gather your evidence and hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit. Whenever I represent a human against a debt collector reporting false information or a car dealer who’s defrauded them, I’m stuck with a one-year or two-year statute of limitations. Do I complain? No. I just do my job and act with diligence.
There’s nothing unfair about requiring them to act almost as responsibly as I do when I sue them.
One final thought that you need to remember. Every time the credit industry pays Congress or a state legislature to pass a bill helping them at the expense of consumers, they justify it with the same argument: if you don’t pass this bill, it will increase the cost of credit and make credit less available to those who need it most. This is total bullshit. The data shows that deregulation of the banks doesn’t actually help consumers. It just increases profits. The only “credit” that is affected by most regulations is on the sketchy end of the legitimate<—->predatory spectrum. So next time you hear your lawmakers debating a handout to the finance industry, don’t think for a moment that you’ll benefit. Because you won’t.
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