Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Red Ink

The Boston Globe is concluding its terrific and terrifying "Debtor's Hell" series today. Reporters Michael Rezendes, Beth Healy, Francie Latour and Heather Allen along with photographer Michele McDonald show how millions of Americans are suffering at the hands of debt collectors, the courts and law enforcement agents. According to the Globe team, "almost unnoticed by policy-makers, many millions of Americans have slid, or been pushed, into a debtor's hell where bank accounts are drained, wages are attached, property confiscated, and threats of jail are an everyday occurrence." The stories do a strong job of explaining how the system works against consumers. The writers offer powerful examples such as the woman whose car was swiped by debt collectors even though her debts had been erased. Walter V. Robinson edited the series.

For another strong series on the same problem, check out the "Merchants of Debt" by The Buffalo News business reporter Fred O. Williams, which was spotted by News Gems reader Brian Summers. Williams gives numerous examples of the system's abuses, including one man who was threatened by three different collection agencies at once for the same $14,000 credit card bill.


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