Will The State Take My Kids If I Don’t Pay My Debts?

25 Jan Will The State Take My Kids If I Don’t Pay My Debts?

Think debt collectors can’t stoop any lower? How about threatening to have the state take away your kids if you don’t cover your payday loans?

Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ Attorney General, has filed suit against a Florida-based debt collector, United Processing, Inc. and its president. The AG is alleging they not only falsely claimed to be attorneys, threatened federal prison time, and improperly disclosed information to third-parties, but they even threatened to have the state child welfare agency take the consumer’s kids away. Here’s the AG’s press release.

If you’re a regular reader of Debt Law Network or our sister sites, you already know what Ms. Madigan wants you to know — your kids aren’t going to be taken away if you can’t pay your payday loans.

But the story illustrates the extreme behavior that consumers come to expect when they are in financial trouble. They shouldn’t have to put up with it and they should do something about it.

The “thing” they should do, however, is not so obvious at times. If you read websites and forums devoted to public complaints about rude service providers and even debt collectors, a common response is to call or write the company to get to “someone in charge.” This is a very human — and gracious — thing to do. It’s also often a waste of time.

Why is it wrong? Because you’re basically taking over the “quality control” function of this company. Someone is breaking the rules and you’re pointing this out for them, for free. That’s nice. But if it’s a debt collector, they likely don’t really care as long as debts get collected. Sometimes they know all too well they’re breaking the rules — it’s policy. What they may care about is money. And often they don’t even mind that much being sued, since the damages are often low — just a cost of doing business. But even if that’s true, they ought to pay you. After all, you’re doing their work for them, why shouldn’t you get paid?

So if a debt collector is making your life miserable, don’t yell back or call his supervisor. Contact a lawyer who deals in fair debt collection law. Otherwise, the cost of doing business that way is even lower for them.

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I have been a bankruptcy attorney since 1989. Our firm represents consumers filing bankruptcy almost exclusively, although I have represented bankruptcy trustees as well as creditors. For 2017-2018 I am also serving on the American Bankruptcy Institute's Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy. If you live in Eastern Missouri, visit our website, send an e-mail or give us a call (314) 781-3400. Our website: STLBankruptcy.com
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