With little difference across party lines, Coloradoans expressed their strong support for a proposal requiring debt buyers, companies that buy old debts and attempt to collect on them, provide appropriate documentation for the debts they collect and sue on.
Survey respondents were asked this question: Would you support or oppose a law requiring debt buyers to provide documentation to the consumer and the court showing how much is owed, a copy of the contract and proof that they actually own the debt?
Nearly nine out of ten voters—87%—said they would support the proposal. While 90% of Democrats said “yes,” Republicans were also overwhelmingly in favor with 82%, and Independents supported with 89%.
More details are included in a memo from Axis Research Inc., who conducted the poll for the Center for Responsible Lending last spring.
Debt buyers purchase old debts for pennies on the dollar, including debt that is no longer owed. Only 6% of these debts are backed by sufficient documentation of the money owed. Because of weaknesses in existing law, debt buyers are rarely forced to prove the debt is real, which means millions of Americans are being hounded for debts they may not even owe.
Debt buyers across America are flooding state courts with lawsuits based on these undocumented debts, and winning them quickly — typically without the person knowing about the lawsuits until after the fact, or having the resources to defend themselves. The debt buyers’ business model depends on obtaining orders from the court, known as judgments, that force the person to pay or have their wages garnished.
Debt buyers drain $25 million per year from Colorado residents by suing for debts with insufficient documentation.