Who Owes the Most?

There's a new study out that tells what area of the country is in hock the most and who owes the least

Analysts at Experian (one of the 3 national credit reporting agencies) conducted a nationwide study of consumers debt habits and turned up some interesting results. So, is your amount of debt higher than your neighbor's?

On a national average, the average amount of money owed per individual on revolving credit accounts, such as credit cards, and fixed payment accounts, such as car loans, but not including mortgages, is a total of $17,103. Also, the national average credit score of an individual is 693 on Experian's score card.

But if you live in the Pacific Coast region your debt load is nearly 20% higher than the national average while your credit score is only one point higher. Maybe that means west coast consumers have a highly optimistic attitude but no real excetional credit worthiness to support it. They have nearly twice the amount of debt per person than East South Central region residents like those in Alabama.

And the lowest area of the country that is in hock? The East South Central region, where the average person owes about twenty percent less than the national average but has a credit score that is nine points lower than the national average. So either those folks are living within their means or they just can't get the credit to outspend the west coast folks. More likely than not, it's the former we suspect.

Oddly, in spite of the survey's indications otherwise, numbers in the survey show that 14% of the population have ten credit cards or more, with New Jersey and New Hampshire leading the pack.

Meanwhile, Minnesota residents generally have the highest average credit rating.

If you'd like to know how you rate with your neighbors, Experian has a web page where you can plug in your zip code and see a snapshot of the statistics for your neighborhood. Click here to see how you compare:

For a state by state analysis, click here.

No doubt about it. Your credit use and your credit score matter more than ever in these tight economic times. If you live in a high credit score area, use your credit carefully. And if you live in a highly indebted area of the country, be very careful about your indebtedness. Having credit is great, yes, but it can also ruin you.

More than ever you have to be sure your credit record does not contain errors. Your family's ability to get by may depend on it.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers fix credit problems since 1978.

How do you get rid of Asbestos?

Recent medical studies on Ohio asbestos disease victims has shown that almost all of them worked for industries relating to just three things: boilermakers, pipe-fitters and electricians. The asbestos exposure rate is a cause for alarm to Ohio doctors and citizens alike. If you are in one of these three professions, you should be even more concerned.

I've been reading some material written by Jesse Herman, one of the editors with the Mesothelioma Cancer Center and much of this blog comes directly from him and his sources through

Homes built before 1980 are likely to have asbestos insulation in them and when homeowners remodel they can easily expose themselves to asbestos, which could lead to the deadly cancer called mesothelioma. The good news is that there are ways to safely insulate your home and in the bitter winter weeks we just went through, now is a good time to take a look at the topic.

Ohio depends headvily on industrial giants like BP Amoco, Sunoco, Shell Oil and American Ship-Building shipyard, and in its early years asbestos became one of the most sought after building materials due to its resistance to many deteriorating conditions and easy usability. Problem is, people just didn't know what they were getting into.

Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers has caused many citizens, workers and military veterans to contract a severe form of asbestos-cancer known as mesothelioma. Between 1979 and 2001, the number of deaths due to asbestos disease in Ohio ranked Ohio fifth in the U.S. Regarding the percentage of mesothelioma deaths, Ohio ranked the highest in the country. Mesothelioma treatment is unfortunately limited due to an intense latency period that can last 20 to 50 years when the disease is already in its later stages. If you have worked in areas of possible asbestos exposure, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Ohio is ranked fifth in the United States for mesothelioma cases filed. Its state legislature enacted the Victim Fairness bill in 2004 because more than 23 Ohio companies with 80 facilities filed for bankruptcy protection, pointing to asbestos liability. Studies showed that asbestos liability was held responsible for the loss of over 60,000 jobs.

Consumer protection was given a boost when Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio legislator, proposed a dramatic shift to Medicare coverage laws which may help victims who, by the time they are diagnosed, are too late to file lawsuits to recover their damages. If you have worked in areas of possible exposure and suffer from an asbestos-related illness, you should find a mesothelioma lawyer who can protect your individual rights.

We don't do that kind of work at Burdge Law Office but if you've been exposed to asbestos, you need to know three things. First, it can cause cancer so see a doctor right away. Second, it's dangerous so don't try to remove asbestos yourself. And third, asbestos exposure has its own unique legal issues, so see an experienced attorney who deals with cases of this kind as soon as possible too.

The Ohio Department of Health offers an asbestos program which assists citizens in finding certified asbestos "abatement" contractors (people who safely remove or contain asbestos materials). These contractors will inspect and remove the toxic material from the designated location. It is strongly recommended that you NOT remove or disturb the asbestos yourself because that can actually cause you to be exposed to this cancer-causing material. These professionals are specifically trained in handling these hazardous materials. So, how do you get rid of asbestos? You call a professional.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers protect themselves since 1978.


Wrecked Car Records Go Public, Finally

After years of wrangling and and lawsuits to force federal bureaucrats to do what Congress told them to do long ago, there is now an online database where consumers can go to get wrecked car records filed by insurance companies, junk yards, salvage yards and others.

A new web site now makes stolen car and wrecked car records publicly available so consumers can avoid buying patched up junk cars and trucks anywhere in the county. Ohio is one of 13 states leading the nation in using the new data to help protect consumers by reporting data and checking it before issuing vehicle titles.

While an estimated 73% of all US vehicles are reportedly in the database, 24 states still are not fully cooperating with the wrecked car record-keeping.

14 states are not participating while 10 more say they are "in development" but federal law requires full participation by 2010. Until then, you still can't be sure if that great looking used car was totaled in an accident Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Oregon, Washingto DC or 9 other states that are not telling the truth about their records. You can see the full list above and check car records here:

It is unbelievable that California, New York and Pennsylvania are providing wrecked car data to the federal government but have blocked the government's ability to release that data to consumers. If you live in one of those three states, write your state governor and ask why they want to keep it secret. Some media reports say private record-keeping companies are paying those states big money to sell the data privately to them so they can keep charging consumers to see the stolen car and wrecked car records before buying a used car in those and other states.

What bragging US officials are slow to admit is that it took public interest group lawsuits to get them moving to comply with long-existing federal law that ordered the creation of the wrecked and stolen car database years ago. In fact Nova Scotia created a similar database with its records in June 2000 and made them available to all provinces to fight theft and consumer fraud. The US database goes one step further by putting access to the records on the internet.

The need for public access to the records is clear and with some 300 million vehicles whose history is now publicly available in one location, consumers can be far more certain of the prior history of the used cars in the marketplace before they put down their hard earned money.

Still, a lot of wrecked and stolen cars and trucks are not in the system yet and a lot more are in the system but access to their records are still being blocked.

If you end up being ripped off by a car dealer who sold you a car that had been wrecked without telling you all about it, contact us. We can help. It's what we do.

You can find out more about the dangers of wrecked cars by clicking here:

Burdge Law Office
Because life is too short to put up with being ripped off.