For anyone looking for ammunition to fight against efforts by local and state governments and Congress to ban debt collection activities during the coronavirus pandemic to protect consumers, here is a data point that will help: consumers consider the suspension of debt collection activities, including automotive repossessions and wage garnishment to be among the least effective relief measures that will help them.
A survey of 1,009 individuals from across the country that was conducted by ZenBusiness revealed that suspending debt collection (76.9%) ranked third-to-last among the most effective tools, ranking only ahead of suspending all small business credit card payments (67.3%) and providing emergency funds to industries that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (67.0%).
The most effective tool that consumers believe will help them is more paid sick leave (87.7%), followed by free COVID-19 testing (86.2%), suspension of evictions and foreclosures (83.3%), and suspension of rent collections (82.2%).
Participants were allowed to choose from a list of 12 options, which also included direct cash payments to all Americans, delaying the payment deadline for federal and state income tax returns, and suspending student loan payments.
Another interesting data point that was revealed by the survey is that most Americans are significantly under-estimating how much economic relief the federal government has handed out so far. For example, when asked how much the federal government has handed out to individuals, respondents guessed an average of $469 billion, nearly $100 billion less than what Congress has made available. Two-thirds of the participants under-estimated what has actually been handed out by more than $275 billion.