- 2 min read
Rolling Jubilee Aims to Buy & Forgive Debt
It’s an open secret in the debt collection world that bad debt accounts are bought and sold for pennies on the dollar. That means an original creditor will sell a written-off credit card account with a balance of $1,000 for $10 to $80. The collection agent who buys the account has the right to collect the face value of the debt.
Some Occupy Wall Street organizers decided to raise money to buy debt bundles, and then forgive the collection accounts for the lucky consumers who had debt included in the bundles. The effort is called Strike Debt, and its primary fundraising activity is Rolling Jubilee, a Web site launched on November 15, 2012. Strike Debt hosted a live music variety benefit show in mid-November in an effort to gather donations. It’s initial goal was to raise $50,000, and as of the last week in November 2012, the Rolling Jubilee Web site claims to have raised $373,289, which it will use to abolish $7.4 million in debt.
Getting rid of $7.4 million of debt would be quite an accomplishment, but it will not help 99% of the people carrying delinquent credit card debt. Most consumerswith debt are going to find a debt relief solution on their own.
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Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual
Strike Debt also created The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual, a no-cost 122-page PDF describing consumers’ rights, including how to correct an error on your credit report and stop a collection agent’s calls.
The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual describes the consequences of defaulting on a federal student loan, and how to repay a defaulted payday loan. The Manual, rather cheekily, describes how 1,000 people in four countries working in concert could drive all payday lenders out of business.
The weakest chapter of The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual covers bankruptcy, which to its credit points out that bankruptcy can have a long-term positive effect on a person’s credit score. Unfortunately, the author does not describe why, and is ignorant of Fair, Isaac & Co.’s disclosure on bankruptcy’s short-term impact on a debtor’s credit score.
Mortgages, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and auto loans are common types of debts. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Q4 2023 was $17.503 trillion. Housing debt totaled $12.612 trillion and non-housing debt was $4.891 trillion.
A significant percentage of people in the US are struggling with monthly payments and about 26% of households in the United States have debt in collections. According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, the median debt in collections is $1,739. Credit card debt is prevalent and 3% have delinquent or derogatory card debt. The median debt in collections is $422.
Collection and delinquency rates vary by state. For example, in Nebraska, 16% have student loan debt. Of those holding student loan debt, 5% are in default. Auto/retail loan delinquency rate is 2%.
Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.