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Debt collectors see coronavirus as a golden opportunity



Debt collectors see coronavirus as a golden opportunity

In April, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for a debt collection moratorium until the pandemic subsided. Besides, people are already quite worried.

The action was not carried out anywhere due to legal issues. But it is a tool for our civic leaders to quickly recognize what will soon appear to many people with bills to pay.

Consumer advocates say debt collectors have grown more aggressive because orders remain at home in California and across the country making it easier for them to contact, and sometimes harass, people who owe money.

Christine Hines, legislative director for National Assn. Consumer Advocates, said he believes “debt collection will only increase in the coming months” as millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet amid job losses and salary cuts.

“The pandemic does not change how rude debt collectors are, it just shows that they are able to do more harm to vulnerable consumers than we thought,” he told me.

It is understandable why debt collectors improve their game. Consumer debt reached a record $ 14.3 trillion in the first quarter – and that was, in large part, before the coronavirus was successful.

Economists say debt has almost certainly grown since then after tens of millions of Americans lost their jobs and many saw their salaries cut.

U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that the unemployment rate was now 13.3% – although it said it would be as high as 16.3% if data collection errors were recorded.

At present, the debt collection report is largely anecdotal booster. A spokesman for the Federal Trade Commission said the official calculation of complaints from consumers will not be available until the end of the month.

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But there is no dispute that the hard times.

Outstanding financial obligations must now compete with paying rent or mortgages, buying food and covering medical expenses.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signs executive order in April temporarily blocked debt collectors from decorating cash from federal stimulus payments made to households amid a pandemic. He also decided that payments on most student loans could be postponed, without penalty, for 90 days.

“Californians are reeling from the financial impact of COVID-19,” Newsom said. “The last thing they deserve is to see more money being held when they try to put food on the table and pay their rent or mortgage.”

ACA International, a leading trading group that represents debt collectors, said its members were misunderstood.

Mark Neeb, the organization’s chief executive, said in a statement that debt collectors “remain committed to consumers,” and that the industry has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with “compassion and empathy.”

Kiran Sidhu, a policy adviser at the Center for Responsible Lending, could not help laughing when I told him.

“They are just trying to protect their profits,” he said, adding that he hoped the industry would become stronger in the pursuit of consumers as the pandemic continued.

Case in point: Debt collectors have explained that they don’t like a suggestion from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which will require the industry to notify consumers that their debt restriction laws may have passed.

In California, the statute of limitations for the majority of consumer debt is four years. After that amount of time, a collector can still chase you, but they cannot take you to court (or if they do, you can cancel the case).

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This may be news to many people, not least because debt collectors often imply or state that if you don’t cough, you will be sued regardless of how long your debt lasts.

Changes to the CFPB rules will also require collectors to tell people that if they even make a very small partial payment, it can restart legal hours and make you vulnerable again to lawsuits.

Neeb said determining whether a debt restriction law has passed is “not always a simple question” and could be a burdensome requirement for the collection industry.

That said, debt collectors would rather not have to do more homework. They would rather spend their time interrupting people’s dinners and scaring them about the dangers of the law and financial disasters.

When job loss increases, the FTC issues a the latest reminder that consumers have rights based on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

“If there are too many collection calls, you can stop them,” the agency said. “Just send to the mail collector who tells them to stop contacting you.”

That won’t eliminate your debt, the FTC noted, “but stopping the call can give you time to regroup, then start working your way towards financial recovery.”

Some other things to remember:

  • Debt collectors are prohibited by law from calling you before 8 am or after 9 pm. unless you authorize them to do so (Don’t).
  • The collector must show written proof of financial obligations if you request it.
  • No collector is permitted to verbally abusive you, use language that is disrespectful or misrepresents their status, such as falsely claiming to be a lawyer or government official.
  • If you feel you have been treated unfairly, contact the state attorney general’s office, FTC, CFPB, or all of them.
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That debt collection moratorium I mentioned above was introduced by L.A. City Councilor Monica Rodriguez. It asked Mayor Eric Garcetti to declare debt collectors “business unimportant” during the pandemic and thus temporarily prevent them from operating within the city limits.

“The family has struggled and experienced economic trauma,” Rodriguez told me. “We don’t need repo officers showing up at the door and taking assets.”

The mayor’s office replied that although the sentiment behind the proposal was laudable, City Atty. Mike Feuer questions the legality of displacement and whether city officials have jurisdiction over collection agencies outside the country.

But do not worry. You can still count on all the compassion and empathy promised by debt collectors.

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer



Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.


“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling



Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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Portuguese military admits ‘it will take time’ until territory is taken under control



Portuguese military admits 'it will take time' until territory is taken under control

The “path” chosen for about a year in the fight against rebel groups in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is “the right one,” Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires said in an interview with Lusa.

“Now, while the situation is not fully under control, we all understand that, as in any other counter-terrorism situation in the world, it will take a lot of time,” added the head of the European military training mission, although he acknowledged that this “ does not mean that sometimes there are no fears and failures.

However, “this is part of what constitutes an action taken against terrorists who operate in a very wide area, who in themselves have the initiative and the ability to hide in a very wide area,” he said.

In fact, he stressed, many of the recent attacks that have taken place in the south of Cabo Delgado in recent weeks are due to the fact that Islamist extremist rebels had to “flight from the north” of the province.

“Because this was a consolidated military operation carried out in close cooperation between the Mozambique Defense and Security Forces (FSS), [e com as forças d]Rwanda and SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission (SADC) in Mozambique), who were clearing out the intervention areas that existed in the area, the reaction of many terrorists was to flee the area, go further south, where they were not pursued. , and make new attacks,” he explained.

“In such cases, the initiative almost always belongs to the terrorists. There are few of them, they hide among the population, they move over very large territories, with a lot of dense vegetation, it becomes very difficult to find them, but you can easily move,” he continued.

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On the other hand, the Portuguese general emphasized, “it is now difficult for these groups” “to concentrate power and forces for large-scale operations, as was the case three years ago during the conquests, such as Mocimboa da Praia or Palma.” ,” he said.

“They don’t have that ability. Many of these attacks even demonstrate [estratégias] survival [clássicas das guerrilhas]. They’re looking for food, they’re looking for supplies, they’re searching deep down for a place where they can survive, because the area is already under quite a lot of control. [por parte] Mozambique FSS, Rwandan forces and SAMIM,” he explained.

In this context, Nuno Lemos Pires highlighted the “quick response” of the Mozambican authorities to each of these developments, starting with head of state Filipe Nyusi.

“I think it is exemplary that the moment there is a movement or a series of significant attacks in other areas, we immediately see the President of Mozambique heading north, linking up with his Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA). , with the Minister of Defense, with the Minister of the Interior, and outline plans on the ground for a quick change of equipment and the ability to respond to such movements,” he said.

During one such trip to northern Mozambique in mid-June, Mozambican Interior Minister Arsenia Massingue said that Mozambican police were informing the “enemy” – the rebel forces in Cabo Delgado – about the positions of the FDS and allied forces on the ground.

However, Lemos Pires downplayed the situation. “We must be aware that there are infiltrations in any political system. It’s happening everywhere. Ignoring this dimension is tantamount to ignoring what is happening everywhere,” he said.

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“I don’t know of a single case of insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorist or counter-terrorist combat where these leaks didn’t happen frequently. You need to be careful. .

In addition to the vastness of the territory that has been the scene of conflict and the topography favorable to insurgent guerrilla strategies, the porous borders with Tanzania to the north of Cabo Delgado and Malawi to the northwest also pose a danger. challenges the SDF and allied forces of SAMIM and Rwanda.

Lemos Pires also relativized this question. “We are talking about transnational terrorism, and it is good to understand that the situation in the north of Mozambique, in Cabo Delgado, is not limited and is not limited – and has never been limited – exclusively and exclusively to this region. A phenomenon that exists throughout Africa. , namely in Central Africa,” he said.

The UETM commander even took advantage of this circumstance to formulate an “extended response” to “a broad problem, a regional one, and the solution must also be a broad regional one.”

Therefore, “it’s very good what we see here on the ground, in fact, this is the unification of the efforts of regional African forces to try to deal with a problem that really worries everyone,” he concluded.

“What happens in one region can affect another. That is why it is in everyone’s interest that these groups be fought, detained and that the narrative that they are currently spreading can be counteracted – we hope that there are fewer and fewer successes,” the Portuguese general stressed.


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Lusa/The End

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