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The Transformation of Consumer Debt

The way lenders and collectors pursue consumer debt has undergone an aggressive transformation in America. Collectors today don’t give up easy, often pursuing debts for years. For many people, these changes have profoundly affected their lives.

Impact of Our Reporting


In Nebraska, New Bill Proposes Protections Against Rampant Debt Collection

Bill seeks to block collectors from cleaning out debtors’ bank accounts over medical debts of a few hundred dollars.


In Major Settlement, States Gang Up to Strike Deal with Soldier-Suing Company

The Virginia-based company was the focus of a 2014 ProPublica investigation of its lending and collection practices.


Company That Sued Soldiers Settles Colorado Lawsuit

The Virginia-based company was the focus of a 2014 ProPublica investigation of its lending and collection practices.


Nonprofit Hospital Stops Suing So Many Poor Patients: Will Others Follow?

A story by ProPublica and NPR and a Senate investigation prompt a Missouri nonprofit hospital to change its policies and forgive thousands of patients’ debts. But without similar scrutiny, it’s unclear if other hospitals that sue the poor will change.


To Address Race Gap, Missouri AG Pushes Debt Collection Fixes

Citing ProPublica’s reporting, Missouri’s attorney general proposed reforms to the state court rules to address the prevalence of debt collection suits in black neighborhoods.


Company That Sued Soldiers Closes Its Stores

After a ProPublica investigation of USA Discounters’ lending practices last summer, a barrage of lawsuits, regulatory inquiries and changes to Defense Department policies followed.


Senator to Hospitals: Stop Suing Poor Patients

Prompted by an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, Sen. Charles Grassley asks a Missouri nonprofit hospital to explain why it seizes the wages of thousands of its patients.

In Bill, Lawmakers Propose New Limits for Seizing Workers’ Pay Over Old Debts

So Sue Them: What We’ve Learned About the Debt Collection Lawsuit Machine

For Nebraska’s Poor, Get Sick and Get Sued

Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives

At Capital One, Easy Credit and Abundant Lawsuits

What Can Be Done Right Now to Fix the Legal System for Debt Collection

The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods

The Color of Debt

How We Analyzed Racial Disparity in Debt Collection Lawsuits

For Nonprofit Hospitals Who Sue Patients, New Rules

Feds Bar Companies’ Long-Distance Lawsuits Against Soldiers

In Alabama, A Public Hospital Serves the Poor — with Lawsuits

From the E.R. to the Courtroom: How Nonprofit Hospitals Are Seizing Patients' Wages

Company That Sues Soldiers Pledges Reform, Changes Name

Old Debts, Fresh Pain: Weak Laws Offer Debtors Little Protection

Unseen Toll: Wages of Millions Seized to Pay Past Debts

Getting Sued Over Debt: Readers Tell Their Stories

Senators Push For Investigation of USA Discounters’ ‘Aggressive’ Tactics

Podcast: ‘No Credit? Need Credit?’ It’ll Cost You

USA Discounters Responds to ProPublica Article

For Lenders, Gaps in Federal Law Make Suing Soldiers Easy

Thank You for Your Service: How One Company Sues Soldiers Worldwide