As consumers across the country face financial distress during the COVID-19 crisis, frontline consumer advocates have launched the COVID-19 Consumer Resource Center, www.consumer.law, a one-stop source of information to help individuals and families protect themselves from financial devastation. The tool comprehensively covers the major consumer problems Americans are facing. It uniquely and comprehensively collects COVID-19 hardship details for major mortgage, auto, credit card and student loan lenders. The Resource Center gives consumers the information they need to obtain hardship relief, fight foreclosures, protect their credit, detect scams, and access CARES Act relief for student loan borrowers.
“The next phase of this crisis will be devastating to consumers,” said Leonard Bennett, principal at Consumer Litigation Associates. “The financial industry has blocked Congressional efforts to limit negative credit reporting and other consumer impact caused by the COVID-19 crisis. It is now up to individual consumers, as well as state and private consumer advocates, to step up and prevent their financial devastation.”
“Millions of consumers could lose their homes or cars, and millions more will suffer enduring damage to their credit,” said Kristi Kelly, principal at Kelly Guzzo, PLC. “We want people to have all the information they need to protect their homes and livelihoods from the aggressive debt collection we are likely to see as soon as stimulus checks hit bank accounts and courts open again for evictions and foreclosures.”
The COVID-19 crisis will exacerbate existing economic inequities and vulnerabilities faced by American consumers:
- Nearly 60% Americans are worried about their finances due to COVID-19.
- Household debt exceeded $14 trillion at the end of 2019.
- American consumers owe $1.16 trillion in car loans and $1 trillion in credit cards. Just a year ago, 5.9 million credit cards were issued in one month.
- And a 2019 report by the Federal Reserve found that 40% of Americans would have difficulty or not be able to cover a $400 unexpected expense.
The COVID-19 Consumer Resource Center was created by consumer lawyers including members of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center‘s Partners Council. Lawyers in these firms work every day fighting to litigate credit reporting issues and stop foreclosures, repossession, and evictions.