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FTC says debt collection complaints soar since start of recession, P.2

In the last entry, this blog discussed the recent news from the Federal Trade Commission that complaints about aggressive debt collection practices of bill collectors have skyrocketed in recent years. One woman in Ohio is suing a New York creditor, which is discussed in this post. But the issue debt collection tactics that can blindside a person can happen to people from any walk of life.

For instance, a state lawmaker on the West Coast says that his wages were garnished over an alleged debt of more than $4,000 that the state senator purportedly owed to a national retailer. The lawmaker says that a judgment was obtained in court on the debt before the wage garnishment order went through, which is generally the norm in debt collection cases.

Here in Ohio, a credit card company or retailer must first obtain a judgment on the debt in court before seeking to garnish an Ohio resident wages, or seize assets in a bank account.

In the lawmaker's case out west, he says that he did not show up in court to challenge the alleged debt. He says that he never received court papers giving him notice that he was being sued in the debt. Typically, the court will often enter judgment on the debt if the debtor does not appear in court in a procedure commonly referred to as a default judgment.

UPI reports that a woman in Piqua, Ohio received a phone call from someone claiming to be with a legal aid service she contacted to fight harassing phone calls from debt collectors. The man reportedly spoke with her and obtained personal information from her. Then, she says the man truly identified himself as a bill collector. She has reportedly filed a lawsuit accusing the bill collector of false representation and creditor harassment.

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

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