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Virus Sparks Calls To Pump The Breaks On Debt Suits

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to envelop the country, some consumer advocates are calling for greater protections for debtors until the crisis abates, arguing that the economic crisis is negatively impacting the ability of Americans to not only pay their debts but also fight collection actions in court.

While the federal government has announced initiatives such as pulling back from collecting on defaulted student loans during the next six months and instituting a moratorium on foreclosures for federally backed mortgages, consumer advocates say that some debt collectors in recent weeks have continued to squeeze consumers whose bottom lines are already stretched thin.

“These companies are not even holding off in light of the economic devastation hitting our country,” said Alexa Rosenbloom, an attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. “We find it pretty disgusting and disheartening.”

Last month, Greater Boston Legal Services urged the heads of several debt collection industry groups to hold off on lawsuits and on the involuntary collections of debts until the crisis abides, arguing that low income individuals such as those served by the civil legal aid organization should be focusing on providing essentials for their families and on remaining indoors, rather than on going to work while sick to pay off consumer debt. Read more in Law 360.