Gurstel Chargo’s “Accountability Matters” Campaign

For as often as I represented people sued by Gurstel Chargo or sued Gurstel Chargo for FDCPA violations, I’m shocked at how little I wrote about one of Minnesota’s busiest debt collection law firms. I actually know the marketer (a lovely person, actually) who came up with Gurstel’s current marketing campaign, and I chuckled when I saw it for the first time. Accountability Matters as a debt collector slogan is the height of hubris. I’m just grateful I’m here to see Gurstel take its own medicine.

Here’s what a Gurstel lawyer collector told a disabled veteran:

Fuck you! Pay us your money! You can’t afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces your ass. If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off social security while the rest of us honest Americans work our ass off. Too bad; you should have died.

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Voters in Arizona and Ohio reject payday lending

Sarah Byrnes of Americans for Fairness in Lending is an occasional guest contributor to Caveat Emptor.

Great news for consumers and advocates – citizens in Ohio and Arizona voted on Tuesday, November 4th to reject payday lending.  Ballot measures proposed by the industry were soundly defeated in both states, showing that voters weren’t swayed by the industry’s deceptive advertising trying to convince them that payday lending isn’t predatory.  You can read more about these battles in this previous post.

This brings the number of states where payday lending is illegal or unfeasible up to 15, plus the District of Columbia.  Only 35 more to go!

The victories are particularly impressive because the grassroots campaigns fighting for consumers were grossly outspent by the industry.  In Ohio, consumer advocates were outspent 60 to 1, and still won by a 2 to 1 margin.   In Arizona they were outspent 90 to 1.  Also, this is only the second time in the history of Ohio referenda that a “yes” vote won, and as the Center for Responsible Lending puts it, “victory in this bellwether state sends a strong message to policymakers everywhere.”

Congratulations Ohio and Arizona!

Payday loan measures on ballots in Ohio and Arizona

Sarah Byrnes of Americans for Fairness in Lending is an occasional guest contributor to Caveat Emptor.

In addition to all the other excitement surrounding this election, Ohioans and Arizonans will get the chance to vote on payday loan protections on November 4.  If you live in either of those states and you read this blog, you have probably already figured out the consumer-friendly position on those measures (Ohioans, vote “YES” on Issue 5; Arizonans, vote “NO” on Prop. 200).

FYI, if you are somehow still undecided about the presidential election, check out AFFIL’s Voter’s Guide which spells out the positions of Senators Obama and McCain on credit cards, mortgages and foreclosures, bankruptcy, and other issues.

If you’re not from Arizona or Ohio but know folks who are, please make sure they can see through all the advertising hype the industry has paid for, and let them know what the measures really mean.  The Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending and Arizonans for Responsible Lending have great websites on the ballot measures.  Here’s a sample what they say: Keep Reading »