In spite of rules and regulations that govern their industry, debt collectors continually and deliberately seem to find their ways around them.
With a commitment to cleaning up abuses in the debt collection industry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau surveyed consumers on their dealings with creditors. While two-thirds reported that they had zero dealings, the remaining one-third painted a dire picture of the bullying and illegal tactics employed by some collectors.
Half of that third that were contacted by creditors did not owe a debt, were given the wrong past-due amount, or contacted over a debt that belonged to a family member. One in four reported that they felt threatened by the persistent calls and aggressive behavior.
The American Collectors Association International disputes the finding. They cite the small sample size and leading questions. The ACA’s Texas branch claims that unregulated, non-member collectors are at fault for violating federal laws that monitor collection practices.
The ACA also shifts the blame on debtors using caller ID to screen and ignore calls. Others with delinquencies are illiterate with their finances and ignorant of their rights.
Information is power. Knowing what creditors can and cannot do may not alleviate the stress of money problems, but it does provide much-needed information.
- Threaten or put debtors in jail, unless it involves a criminal judgment for writing a bad check
- Charge above the debt amount unless the original agreement includes interest charges, fines and attorney fees
- Contact neighbors, relatives or employers about the debt
- Make repeated calls in a short period of time
- Fail to stop calling upon request of the debtor via a certified letter
Ending the hardship of creditor harassment can be as easy as one telephone call to an experienced bankruptcy attorney.