Creditor harassment and inflammatory threats are prohibited by law. Yet, these illegal activities continue by over-enthusiastic debt collectors. While these debt collectors’ calls are annoying, some firms even ignore U.S. bankruptcy regulations, making persistent threatening calls after a creditor files for protection–sometimes even after a person’s debts have been discharged.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are increasing efforts to help residents of Miami and around the U.S. to avoid these illegal creditor harassment actions. Some third-party collection companies are pushing the envelope threatening arrest, prosecution and wage garnishment for some victims whose debts were canceled by bankruptcy discharge.
The FTC and CFPB are responding to consumer complaints (up 17 percent from 2009 to 2010) pertaining to creditor harassment. Trying to help innocent victims, the government passed stronger consumer protection laws with the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. With a goal of “cleaning up” the collections process and making consumers more knowledgeable of fair debt collection rules, these government agencies still face challenges in explaining these regulations to victims who are consumed by embarrassment, fear and shame.
As more people turned to their credit cards to balance their budgets during the recession, the more difficulties they have faced in paying down their growing debt. Unfortunately, the end of this trend is not in sight. Credit card debt, once again, grew in 2011. Along with increasing credit card debt, the number of collection firms–some of which are deemed “rogue companies”–has also dramatically increased.
Some of these newer firms are either ignorant of, or are disregarding Fair Deb Collection Act laws and regulations. Consumers should visit the FTC website to learn about collection actions that are permitted and those that are prohibited. Knowledge is power.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Debt Collectors Targeted For Heightened Unlawful Harassment,” Catherine New, March 1, 2012