[EDITOR'S NOTE: Hat-tip to my sister Seattle Slim over at Happy Nappy Head for this one]
So this week, parts of the recently passed Credit Card Act 2009 goes to work -- score one for the little guys. As of right now credit card companies must immediately begin to mail bills at least 21 days before their due dates and provide at least 45 days notice before making a significant change to their rates or fees. Considering that contrary to what the WuTang Clan believes, credit rules everything around us and not cash. I suspect credit card companies may not be too happy about this.
Hopefully in their angst they do not resort to stuff like this:
If they should so desire to become aggressive as the bill collectors employed in the video above, thankfully New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has stepped up to make a difference in his state. Yes, and I suppose this is why Dorothy Gilbert will now become the face of the new Economic Civil Rights Movement. Ok, so there's not really a new movement, but there should be. In these economic times where Blacks and other minorities have been disproportionately affected negatively, I suspect that there are more abuses in practice other than that of the Benning-Smith Group, the Western New York debt collection company in question in this case. Yes, I'm sure there are more "lazy" and "ghetto" women and people of color around the country.
You know, like this:
Yes, this is something that is not exclusive to the great state of New York. It is my form belief that these practices occur everyday all across the country. As with anything I pretty much speak upon as far as injustice is concerned on this blog. I would say that much of what we see occurs as a result of a lack of knowledge. As consumers, or more specifically minority consumers, we should arm ourselves with information so as to combat the systematic economic and financial racist practices we encounter.
For example, we can start by:
Knowing our legal rights as consumers [link]
Avoid dealing with debt collectors after the statute of limitations has expired. [link]
Keep good records of any dealings with debt collectors. [link]
Request verification on any debt that you feel is incorrect. [link]
Always get an agreement in writing before making a payment. [link]
If your rights have been violated, file a complaint with the FTC. [link]
I'm only suggesting that we arm ourselves because as minority consumers we cannot hope to wait for the gov't to pass legislation to counteract predatory lending as they did the credit card reform act; if you don't believe me CLICK HERE. Yeah, not only can companies prey on minorities, and poor people for profit, evidently they can degrade and intimidate them as they did Dorothy Gilbert in New York. This information is not solely intended to protect minorities but every consumer in this country. My focus as with much on this blog happens to be minorities because it is our condition, especially economically, that is a measure of the American dream. If we arm ourselves and hit them where it hurts the most, hopefully things will change, and we can sleep better at night and not worry about the American nightmare of being in debt.