Medical debt is one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy in the U.S., so it is no surprise that debt collectors commonly attempt to collect millions of outstanding bills. Unfortunately, the public interest group reports that some of these businesses are using aggressive tactics in an attempt to collect debts, sometimes from the wrong customers. In the latter case, this erroneously puts an individual’s credit at risk. The organization reviewed 17,701 medical collection complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reveal that problems with medical collection are widespread.
The CFPB determined that:
- 63% of the complaints assert that the debt was paid, never owed, or discharged in bankruptcy, or unverified as a consumer’s debt.
- Aggressive or inappropriate tactics include repeated and frequent calls, threats of legal action, calls harassing friends and family, or abusive language.
- One-third of all medical debt collection complaints had the words credit report in the transcripts.
- Just 10 companies make up 20% of all complaints.
- These companies are getting large fines for their reckless actions.
This is what bankruptcy protection is for
Those who have filed for bankruptcy protection should no longer receive these types of calls, letters or a collector showing up at their door. Even without bankruptcy, this kind of predatory behavior should be penalized – one of the 10 firms received the largest fine ever levied by the CFPB for calling the wrong people and other violations.
Bankruptcy attorneys’ main role is helping clients with the paperwork and hearings, but these legal professionals provide guidance as well as needed support against collectors who overstep the legal boundaries established in bankruptcy.