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FTC says debt collection complaints soar since start of recession, P.1

Despite consumer protection laws, the Federal Trade Commission says that complaints about over-zealous bill collectors have seen a sharp rise in the past four years. The agency says that complaints about debt collectors and creditor harassment have spiked by 73 percent since 2008. Sources claim that the significant jump in complaints over creditor harassment is a sign of a bad economy. The sharp increase in complaints roughly coincides with the economic collapse.

A lawyer for the FTC says that debt collectors may be pushing harder in their efforts to squeeze money from debtors. He says, "We've seen a high level of complaints, and I think some of it is collectors realizing in hard times they may have to press that much harder to get someone to pay," according to UPI.

In 2011 alone, the FTC fielded nearly 181,000 complaints about aggressive debt collection practices from consumers. The agency says that about half of the complaints involve telephone debt collections and abusive debt collectors on the phone. Some complaints that have arisen concern bill collectors who have not checked the facts before seeking repayment of some kind of alleged debt.

Consumer protection laws are in place to protect people in Ohio, and across the country, from unfair debt collection practices. In many cases, a bill collector may follow the laws that are in place, but the collection efforts can also result in financial stress for a debtor. Such devices as a court judgment, wage garnishment, repossessions and bank account seizures can put additional strains on a troubled household budget.

In the next post, this blog will discuss debt collection tactics that two people faced that may not properly have followed the rules.

Source: UPI, "Debt collection complaints rise," Aug. 20, 2012

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