Many people have accepted that debt collection agencies and debt collectors as a necessary evil. They are there to do a job and a necessary one since not all debtors are just experiencing bad times. Debt collection agencies recover astronomical amounts of money for businesses which are starved for it. But they also get many complaints filed against them, for their procedures. Debt collectors may get the job done but the way that they do it isn’t always perfect.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, there have been over 140,000 complaints filed against debt collectors in 2010 alone. Considering that there are roughly 137,000 debt collectors, that means that there was over a complaint filed per debt collector. These debt collectors, if the claims are to be believed, violated many different aspects of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Act is actually an addition to the Consumer Credit Protection Act and clearly lists unacceptable practices. Those complaints could have resulted in fines or further penalties against the debt collectors.
There were many violations of the act that were more regular than others. There were over 54,000 complaints of continued harassment by debt collectors. There were over 27,000 complaints filed because debt collectors threatened legal actions. Perhaps the most grave are the 4,000 plus complaints filed because the debt collectors actually threatened the debtor with physical harm. That is one of most blatant violations of the Act.
One other provision of the Act is that the debt collection agencies are obliged to provide written notice once the debt collection process has begun. This paperwork tells the debtor the amount of money owed and to whom it is owed. Considering that one of the shadier practices of some debt collectors is to try and foist someone else’s bad debt on an unsuspecting victim, there is definitely a great need for this. The Act was designed to protect the consumer and the debt collection agencies pointedly ignored it. It would be horrible to pay thousands in debt that isn’t even yours.
If you have ever dealt with debt collectors or debt collection agencies, you know some of the fiscally irresponsible suggestions they make. But they are also sometimes also guilty of harassment, threatening debtors with legal proceedings, and even physical harm. Granted the job of debt collectors is not painless but there were 140,000 listed complaints. It is impossible to believe that all debt collectors and all debt collection agencies are evil but these numbers are hard to argue with. There are good debt collection agencies, so hopefully if you are phoned by one of those, if your situation ever comes to that.