Gurstel Chargo

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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Debt collection lawsuits in Minnesota and a new VLN clinic to help address the problem

The debt collection industry is booming. Unifund, one of the big U.S. debt buyers, files nearly 5,500 lawsuits a year in California. In Minnesota, where pocket filing makes the cost of obtaining a default judgment negligible, I would expect to see similar, if not greater, per capita figures. And, of course, it is not just Unifund filing lawsuits.

Because of pocket filing, coupled with Minnesota’s permissive pre-judgment garnishment rules, most of these lawsuits are never filed. Law firms like Messerli & Kramer; Gurstel, Staloch & Chargo; Wolpoff & Abramson; and others serve dozens, if not hundreds, of lawsuits every month for Unifund and other clients, counting on default judgments.

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