Top 8 Complaints About Debt Collectors
The FTC is trying to educate consumers about what practices are illegal and what they can do about them. From this effort, they’ve compiled the top eight consumer complaints about illegal debt collection practices:
- 46.5% said debt collectors called continuously in an effort to harass them, including calling in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. Debt collectors are barred from calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you give them express permission to do so. While terms like “continuously” are subject to interpretation, calling multiple times in a single day would be a violation of the law. Debt collectors also can’t shout or swear at you.
- 31.1% said the debt collector attempted to collect too much money. In some cases, they attempted to collect debts that had been discharged in bankruptcy or that were never owed. Some said the collector simply added a host of fees and charges that were not allowed by law.
- Consumers are entitled to receive a notice that stipulates how much is owed; who the debt is owed to; and what fees and charges were added to the debt in the collection process. However, the third most common complaint, coming from 25.7% of those contacting the FTC, was that the collector failed or refused to provide this notice.
- 20.9% said the collector threatened dire consequences — including having the debtor thrown in jail — if they didn’t pay up. Federal law says that the debt collectors can tell you that they’ll sue you for a legitimate debt, but they can’t threaten an action that they have no authority or intention of taking.
- 13.6% of consumers complained that the collector called them at work. If you ask a debt collector not to call you at work, they are barred by federal law from violating that request.
- 12.2% of complaints alleged that the collector revealed information about the consumer’s debt to a third party. Giving information about a consumer’s debt to an employer, co-worker or even a relative is strictly forbidden.
- 11.5% of the complaints said that the collector refused to investigate a disputed debt as required by law.
- Some 8.4% of collectors ignored the consumer’s entreaty to stop calling. Collectors must stop calling, if you ask them to. But they can sue you, if you refuse to pay or discuss a legitimate debt.
Read the full story here from Moneywatch: Top 8 Complaints About Debt Collectors.