Debtors' Hell

A 2006 Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigation into the world of consumer debt in the United States.

The battle by Joanne M. Johnson of Leominster, who lives on a disability check, to get her car back took an emotional toll.

Michele McDonald/Globe Staff

The battle by Joanne M. Johnson of Leominster, who lives on a disability check, to get her car back took an emotional toll.

No mercy for consumers

Millions of Americans live in a debtor’s hell from which it can be virtually impossible to escape. Firms’ tactics are one mark of a system that penalizes those who owe. By The Globe Spotlight Team

About this series

In 2006, The Boston Globe's Spotlight Team found a system where debt collectors have a lopsided advantage, debtors are often treated shabbily by collectors and the courts, and consumers can quickly find themselves in a life-upending financial crisis.