Sleazy Bill Collectors
We all know about the bankruptcy “reform” bill that was passed several months ago by
These collection agencies are debt buyers; they purchase unpaid bills from credit card firms. Some of these debts are so old they’re past the statute of limitations; there’s no legal ground for collecting the money, and the unpaid debt can’t even go into the debtor’s credit report. Hence the collectors have to resort to threats and blackmail.
As consumer debt has gone way up over the past few years, these sleazoid companies have increased accordingly. In 1996 there were about a dozen of them. Today there are more than 500.
And with typical Orwellian logic, the credit industry says these debt collectors are offering a valuable service to debt-ridden consumers: These deadbeats now have a chance to pay off their debts at a discount. Ooookay. George Orwell must be turning in his grave, saying “why didn’t I think of that?!?”
These collection agencies pay an average of 5.4 cents on the dollar for the debts they’ve purchased. They’re determined to make a profit with their collections — hence their Nazi Stormtrooper tactics. The Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about debt collectors than any other industry. In the past four years the complaints have quadrupled to almost 60,000 a year.
These collection agencies don’t just go after debtors. If they can’t locate the person who actually owes the money, they’ll go after an estranged relative or even an unrelated person with the same name. One of these lowlife agencies made repeated calls and threats to a man whose daughter was in debt — she had moved out 15 years earlier. The debt collector recited the man’s Social Security number and his wife’s name, and said some of his “associates” would be paying a visit to teach them a lesson.
Another one of their greaseball tactics: they’ll persuade a debtor to make just a small payment. Then, from that payment transaction, the debt collectors can get enough personal information that they can keep withdrawing more money (illegally) from the debtor’s bank account.
One woman was hounded by collectors for a debt owed by her deceased mother. She wasn’t legally responsible for the debt, but she agreed to let them withdraw a specified amount from her bank account once a month. The collector tried to make several more withdrawals during one month; her bank charged her for bounced check fees each time this happened. Then the collector started calling her repeatedly at work, and told her he’d keep calling and calling until she lost her job.
Maybe our coin-operated Congress will crack down on these shady, slippery practices. Riiight.