Debt Collection Abuses
March 7th, 2017 by Bunch & Brock
For most people, debt is a part of life. When you’re behind on payments, life is generally more difficult. Chances are, you’re not only having a hard time paying your bills, but you’re also having to make choices about which bills to pay, how to adjust your shopping habits, and how to save money on the kids’ school clothes. Some people lose their jobs, some people suddenly fall behind because of a recent divorce, separation, or sudden death of a family member. A lot of hard-working people encounter tough times and don’t know where to turn. The last thing anyone needs at that point is harassment from debt collectors.
Debt collectors habitually overstep boundaries in an attempt to get what they want. In fact, unsavory debt collection experiences are to blame for more consumer complaints than any other financial product. More than one in four U.S. consumers reported feeling threatened by debt collectors, according to a recent study conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The study, which examined more than 6,000 collection companies, is the first comprehensive, national collection of consumer data and experiences of this kind.
Here’s how collection works, in a nutshell. Creditors, such as banks, will either call consumers with overdue payments or get a third party involved on their behalf. There are thousands of debt collection companies which are just itching to make some money – and the CFPB study suggests an overall carelessness in how consumers are treated. Alarmingly, it was discovered that the lists of debts that were sold to collection agencies online included consumers’ personal information. We’re talking about social security numbers, birth dates, and other bits of sensitive information made public and put on display to anyone who comes across the website. That lack of caution (and judgment) opens consumers up to identify theft.
More than one-third of the debtors who were surveyed complained of being contacted after 9:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m., and almost 40% reported getting calls four or more times per week. Many people even reported being threatened with arrest or jail time, which is completely illegal, but not all consumers know their rights. On the flip side, however, more than 40% of people suspected abuse and therefore requested that the creditor or collector stop harassing them. Unfortunately, only one in four reported that the request was respected.
The CFPB is doing what it can to combat this kind of abuse, but adequate reform could take a long time to achieve. One way to take matters into your own hands and get your life back on track is to consider filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy isn’t for everyone, but for people who have multiple debts for which payment is impossible, it’s often the most reliable way to get your life back together. It is also a sure-fire way to put an end to debt collection harassment, because the automatic stay requires most collection efforts to stop until the situation is resolved.
Creditors are in the business of making money and they can be ruthless in that pursuit. Don’t go it alone. The Kentucky debt collection abuse attorneys at Bunch & Brock are familiar with every aspect of debtor and creditor issues. We are a debt relief firm committed to providing each of our clients with personal attention and real solutions to financial troubles. Once you have hired a lawyer, the collection agency or creditor’s attorney can communicate to you only through us. As a bankruptcy law firm with more than 35 years of experience in the state of Kentucky, we have effectively represented many people who were in the same position as you are now. Contact us today by calling 859-254-5522 or filling out this online form.