Credit card companies and debt collectors are literally killing Americans. The Star Telegram reported (September 2009) the death of a Florida man, Stanley McLeod. Stanley, who had become disabled, was forced to cut back his hours at Sears and had fallen behind on his mortgage payments. Stanley’s wife, Dianne, described how the debt collectors hounded her husband up to nine times per day with harassing and illegal calls, causing the unbearable stress that contributed to his fatal heart attack on Dec. 4, 2005. http://allmandlaw.com/bankruptcy/grieving-widow-sues-mortgage-company-for-causing-her-husbands-death
A tragic murder suicide of a Houston couple occurred May 17, 2010, due to financial stress and the inability to find a job. Stacks of unpaid bills, disconnection notices from utility companies, and endless harassing phone calls from debt collectors pushed them to their limits.
The documentary, “Maxed Out” factually details the inner workings of deceptive practices employed by credit card companies, pawn shops, scavenger debt collectors, and their attempts to enslave consumers. The cases of three suicides are documented by family members who have to live with the horrific results of this industry. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/maxed-out/
Credit card companies are looking for those who can only make minimum payments. That is where profits are highest even though the chance of default is greater. According to Bud Hibbs, a Fort Worth consumer advocate, there is a mandatory period of 180 days before the credit card company has to write off the debt. During this period of time, they increase your interest rates, apply late fees, and new interest fees accumulate to grow the debt exponentially. http://www.budhibbs.com/bh/
Many credit card companies are affiliated with or own the scavenger (or zombie) debt collection agencies that will pursue you once a default has occurred. The scavenger debt collector applies more fees and interest as they push and routinely overstep the limits of the law.
If you are feeling like your situation is hopeless, there is help available. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_Consumer_Protection_Act_of_1991 provides information and solutions to stop harassing phone calls. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a cease and desist letter can be sent via certified mail. Once received, the debt collector may have to pay you, up to $1,000.00 for each violation. http://credit.about.com/od/debtcollection/a/ceaseanddesist.htm