It is true

I have no idea who was voted off the island or who won American Idol and we are millionaires. I could care less about the royal baby. (I am just being goofy today, I am sure someone watches all these reality shows and has a high net worth.)

I wasn’t originally going to get into this point

But one of the lawyer friends I mentioned does this. For example, if Chase is suing someone locally (in Richmond, VA), they hire a local law firm to do it (actually that firm is contracted to sue all their local customers).
The simple way to put this is that when it comes to court, my friend goes in and says, “Does this person owe the plaintiff money?” They say, “Yes, he does,” then he asks them to prove it. Again, I’m simplifying what he told me, which was a simplification in itself, but basically the law firm, if questioned properly, will have to reveal they do not have the authority to state the defendant owes them money.
Only specific people that are employees of, in this case, Chase, have the legal standing to state whether or not the defendant owes money.
Since they’re not there and can’t make the statement, the result is the defendant (my friend’s client) not only can’t be sued, but the debt is voided.

Again, as I’ve said twice, this is an oversimplification and not something any of us could do on our own. In most cases when my friend would start that line of questioning, the plaintiff’s attorney would see where it’s going and drop the case immediately, before the questioning can reach a conclusion. They could still re-sue at any time. There are ways to avoid this, such as filing the proper counter suit. Then there are other issues. I have a good technical mind and he had to dumb it down for me when he’s explained it in the past.

As Jon pointed out, usually the ending point is a FDCP violation filing and not going this way because, as I understand it, there are still only a limited number of lawyers who have been practicing with this kind of case.

Along with the FDCPA, there is also the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA, and many times collection agencies or firms violate this and can be taken to court as well. Right now we’re about to check my credit report since I got a call from a telemarketer (violation #1, since I’m on the FCC’s Do Not Call list) who claimed to know my credit score. If we find the info by finding a credit check on my record, then (I am told), it’s almost a slam-dunk to win the case and the question is not if but how much.

I doubt, though, that they checked my credit score or anything else, since I’ve been debt free for over a year. (They were saying they could reduce my credit card interest rate on what I owe.) Thanks to my own business (the one my gf in QS didn’t consider successful since it wasn’t part of QS) I was able to pay off a large amount of debt in under a year. I mention that not so much for bragging rights, but as a point that MLMs are not the only way an individual can succeed. I’m debt free and doing well and I have yet to hear from mutual friends of her making any progress in QS.

These are bona fide pyramid schemes, and are illegal

Most of these schemes involve filing suit against a third party debt collector. Whilst collection agencies violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act nearly every time they contact somebody for a debt, getting a court to award you damages is not trivial. The violation has to be something that is not technical, and not a matter of human interpretation.

The one’s that don’t involve FDCPA violations, revolve around the issue of whether or not money was lent to the debtor. Typically proof of indebtedness is requested, as a preliminary step to establishing that no money was lent to the consumer. The usual ending point of this strategy is the person filing an FDCPA violation, and ignoring the issue of whether or not money was lent.

These organizations do not reduce your debt load by a single penny..
Neither creditors,nor collection agencies have any legal requirement to pay attention to what they do, or offer, even if they are acting as your authorized representative. [The rules are slightly different, if they are your legal counsel representing your interests in a legal matter.]
I’ve forgotten the name of the organization, but most US pharmaceutical manufacturers belong to it. Basically, it screens individuals for various criteria, and if enough matches are found, you get your prescriptions gratis. If you don’t hit those criteria, but match a different set, you get them at a discount. (Ask your pharmacists for the name of the organization. Also ask your pharmacists about options for you to continue them,when your insurance ends.)

Depending upon the amount, and type of debt that is owed, bankruptcy might be your best option. However, bankruptcy lawyers typically do not do pro bona work for individuals. (They do do it for non-profit organizations. But even in those instances, the person filing bankruptcy has to pay all of the court costs.)

Talk to your local consumer credit counseling agency. [Make sure it is the real mccoy. IRS (3)(c) Increasingly, these are for profit organizations with similar names.] Find out what other options are available.
Find out what usually happens to creditors in similar situations as yours, who do not go thru their entire program.

Once upon a time, a debtor in the circumstances you describe, would not be sued, because it was not cost effective to do so. [This was especially true in Texas.]

The current situation seems to be that creditors will sue regardless of their costs. Their theory being that the individual will have attachable assets before the judgment expires.

Some parishes have already had new maps issued, such as St. Charles

They have already informed residents what they’ll be paying based on the new maps. I live in Terrebonne Parish and our parish president is holding off as long as possible to help remedy this situation. I had lunch w/a friend who works for the parish and she firmly believes he is doing all he can for the best of the parish. Time will tell whether this impending tragedy can get upended.

I went to the flood insurance/maps meeting last night

It was very informative. EVERYONE on this list should find out more about this because it DEFINATELY affects many, many states, not just coastal states. About the only states without much affect are the states where the Rockies are located. I am dead serious and not exaggerating. All the flood maps have been redrawn and people who have NEVER, NEVER, EVER flooded are now in a flood zone according to the newest maps. I cannot answer questions about specific areas because I am not an expert at all. Consult your local officials about this.

ALL FLOOD INSURANCE is through the NFIP, national flood insurance program. I know the initials are right but it may be “premium” instead of “program.” No matter who sends you the bill it all comes from the NFIP. That is almost word for word from our parish president.

In my particular case, in the past we have not resided on a flood plane but had flood insurance anyway. Thinking that if a Katrina hit our area we would be taken care of. I am pretty sure that now we would be in a flood zone. We have changed nothing about our property (none for the worse, only improvements) and it has never flooded. Others across the country are finding the same thing. They have done nothing wrong and many have never had a claim and many have never flooded but now they are in a flood zone. Our insurance currently runs about $335/year, paid annually.

Accourding to the reports last night this will affect residential and commercial property just the same. There are families who are currently paying about what we are and in very smilar situations that could pay in the 10’s of $1000’s. No, I did not put too many zeros. There is Microtel within 30-40 minutes of us that currently pays about $6000/year in flood insurance and theirs will go to about $100,000/year if something is not done. For the examples they gave they used real addresses, showed pics of the house, the physical address, and real current flood insurance rates to compare to the potential future rates.

If rates go to what they project, it will end up causing an economic downturn like we have never seen in recent years. Why? When you’re in a flood plain and you have a mortgage, you are REQUIRED to have flood insurance. No flood insurance? Your mortgage is called. Many people will walk away from the rising rates, just turn the keys over to the bank. Banks will end up with alot of bank owned homes. No one will want to purchase homes with such outrageous flood insurance rates, no one will bea ble to sell them. This has a big domino affect on the whole economy of local communities. If houses don’t sell, the real estate industry bites the dust. Then all the industries that feed off that bite the dust and on down the line. Eventually the tax base of the whole community dwindles, services from the city/parish (county) dwindle, and so on.

All this got passed as part of the transportation bill last year. Louisiana reps are not the only ones caught off guard. There are reps in Florida , New York , New Jersey , California , etc. that are beginning to realize what is going on. There is a big coalition that is beginning to form between leaders (local community people/leaders up to members of congress) to begin to address this issue. I won’t bore you with more but do encourage you to attend any local community meetings about this to get informed on your community and the impact it’ll have.

I hope y’all will really look into this for your community. It is definately worth it. Much of what I shared came from that meeting last night. Some states are more affected than others but many more states than you can imagine are affected.