Like all people who deal with correspondence from members of the public, I get letters from people with what you might call specialist concerns. I have at various times received ten page disquisitions on the Iraq war, tearful accusations of ruining someone’s intended career with the UN, and letters written in 4 point coloured type.
So I was excited to receive a letter addressed to “Dear Interloper”. A promising start, that; I wonder what we’ve interloped?
Ah, it turns out that we’ve asked someone to repay some money that they borrowed from us: “Please provide verification of your claim, including … a hand signed invoice in accordance with Bills of Exchange Act (1882) and proof of agency”.
If we don’t do this, then naturally we will have agreed to “the following terms: that you are a third party interloper; you have no legal standing; no first-hand knowledge of this matter; [goes on at some length]”.
We are also told by our correspondent, who describes himself as “John of the family: Smith”, that we must not “refer to me as Mr or any title, which is a legal fiction and is not me”. And in case we were in any doubt on the matter, this missive is subject to the strict injunction:
“No assured value, No liability. Errors & Omissions Excepted. All Rights Reserved”.
Well, that all seems clear and absolutely on the level.
But when I received the third identical letter along these lines, my finely-tuned legal brain sensed that a pattern was emerging. What were the chances that three different debtors had arrived at the same argument by chance?
Turning to my research assistant, Mr Google, I find that the top result for the phrase “proof of agency” is a website called getoutofdebtfree.org. And what an interesting website it is.
The promise of Get Out Of Debt Free, and I think that we can all get on board with this, is that with their kind assistance one can “Beat the Banks and the Debt Collectors totally Lawfully and Get out of Debt Free…” What’s not to like about that?
This emancipation of the indebted masses is to be achieved through “Template Letters [and] Simple Strategies for a permanent Debt Solution”, backed by “Online Support and advice from the large Community Forum”. The message is clear: embrace random capitalisation and “Start Winning the Global Commerce Game NOW”.
Well, now I’m properly worried. If there’s a hitherto unsuspected way that debtors can lawfully avoid liability for their debts, what future for evil lawyer types like me?
So what’s the revolutionary legal theory that will bring down the banks and liberate the masses from the oppression of debt? The folks at Get Out Of Debt Free aren’t ones for keeping secrets, and right up there on their home page are the “7 Reasons why Credit Card/Loan agreements are unlawful or why you don’t owe your bank/credit card company anything”.
Let’s see… must be a binding contract… bank lending isn’t real money… fractional reserve banking… yadda yadda… names written in upper case aren’t real names… Wait, what?
Oh, I see: “the uppercase name on the credit card is not your name, but a ‘corporate entity’”. In other words, JOHN SMITH is not John Smith.
But let’s go with it. How do we put this explosive knowledge into practice?
Simple, just send the template letters. And then send some more. Ignore any response that your lender makes, because they will try to confuse you with “facts” and “law”.
Do not allow yourself to be confused. Remember that “a Statute only carries the force of law upon you if you consent to it. If you do not give your consent, a Statute cannot affect you in any way whatsoever”.
Imagine the generations of poor unfortunates (others call them “criminals”, but we know better) who could have benefited from this knowledge. But it is suppressed by the authorities: “[the courts] will hide this from you at every opportunity”.
There is other helpful advice. For example, “it is best to © And ™ your name as this gives you more power when invoicing”. You must “take control of your Uppercase/Capitalised name or Strawman, in Common Law and International Treaty”.
There will no doubt be cynics and mockers who scoff at this sage advice and seek to portray it as a risible mix of nutjobbery and conspiracy theorism. But they are wrong, because this wisdom comes with the backing of “a multitude of friends and fellow researchers, all over the planet as well as a few off planet”.
And you can’t argue with the space lizards, can you?
It’s easy to poke fun at this stuff, and I’m certainly not going to stop you*. But there’s a serious point here as well: real people really try this stuff for their real debts, and, because it doesn’t actually work, end up getting further into debt.
Do those people actually believe the theories peddled by GOODF and their like?** I’m sure that some do, because ignorance and (sometimes justified) cynicism about the financial system is widespread. And, like all good conspiracy theories, it takes a respectable and plausible idea (that our system of money and credit depends to a substantial degree on confidence) and builds a vast edifice of lunacy on top of it.
But in my less charitable moments I think that some people simply resent the idea that they might have to pay back the money that they have borrowed, and want to believe that it’s possible to escape their debts through some loophole or other. But then I’m part of the corrupt and fraudulent system, so I would say that, wouldn’t I?
[A postscript: It is not my intention in this post to make any judgement about people who struggle with their debts – I think that lenders should deal with their customers sympathetically, and that there are far too many who don’t do that. Equally, I make no judgement regarding the use of template letters for complaints about bank charges, payment protection insurance, and so on, or about the websites and organisations that promote them. I’m just saying avoid the crazy lizard people]
*Go on, there’s videos and all sorts.
**This particular bit of wingnuttery derives from the oeuvre of Mary Elizabeth Croft, who in addition to the capitalisation thing believes that birth registration transfers ownership of your children to the state and that quotes from David Icke lend credibility to most arguments. And those are her more credible theories.
By the way, here’s a couple of the letters: