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Publication Title

Washington University Law Quarterly

Abstract

In September 1971, over 130 billion dollars of consumer credit was outstanding, or over six hundred dollars for every man, woman, and child in the United States. Virtually every consumer in the country is in debt, either to a merchant for goods or services purchased, to a financer who has purchased a vendor’s commercial paper, or to a financer who has lent money directly to the consumer. Of these millions of persons in debt, an untold number will fail to pay the debt on the date it becomes due. For some the failure to pay will be justified because of some breach by the creditor, but for most the default will be unjustified. In either event the creditor is likely to attempt to collect the alleged debt. Because of the expense and delay involved in litigation, he is likely to employ extrajudicial tactics to compel payment. The purpose of this Article is to define the limits of permissible extrajudicial debt collection tactics and determine the adequacy of the remedies that have established these limits.

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