Debt collectors pursuing one out of seven Americans

Debt collector wikiOne out of every seven Americans has a debt collector on their heals, and the debt collectors are routinely abusing them, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission  received more than 200,000 complaints about debt collection. That’s the biggest number of complaints on any category except for  identity theft. Click here to read the Center for Responsible Lending’s report on “The State of Lending in America and Its Impact on U.S. Households.”

The report said the industry often uses “misrepresentation about the amount or legal status of the debt, harassment and excessive contact, obscene or abusive language, and unlawful threats to sue,” the nonpartisan group said.

After years of these abuses, debt collectors are increasingly under fire.

Just last week, for instance, New York Attorney General  Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with two of the largest buyers of consumer debt. Portfolio Recovery Associates and Sherman Financial Group agreed pay a combined $475,000 in penalties and halt their collection efforts on $16 million worth of judgments. The companies were accused of trying to collect debts that were too old under New York state law.

Click here to read my column in The Wall Street Journal Sunday.


1 Comment

  1. Of course, abusive collection practices are not defensible, but instead of complaining about them, How about people, 1/ live within their means, 2/ pay their bills when due, 3/ if item 2 is not possible, be honest about their situation with the creditor, and work out a payment schedule. Creditors don’t want to sell their debts to collection agencies, they only do so when primary collection efforts fail.

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