31 Oct Creditor Harassment Complaints Increase
Last year almost 71,000 complaints about creditor harassment were filed with the Federal Trade Commission. That is twice the number that filed in 2003. But that’s not all. Over 14,000 complaints were reported to the Better Business Bureau, and thousands more were filed around the country with state and city officials.
David Polino, the president of the Upstate New York chapter of the Better Business Bureau predicts it is only going to get worse. One of the reasons it is getting worse was recently discussed in an Associated Press report. There has been a huge increase in the number of companies that buy up bad consumer debt at a steep discount and try to collect whatever they can. These companies use the “squeaky wheel” theory – believing that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
The squeaky wheel tactics often go over the line of what is legal. While creditors can sue, get judgments, garnish wages, freeze bank accounts and put liens on your property, they cannot take some of the steps that they often take. Creditors can not call before 8 am or after 9 pm. They cannot use foul language or threaten to arrest you. They also cannot lie about taking legal action against you.
According to the AP report, almost 39 percent of Federal Trade Commission complaints cited demands to pay debts that weren’t owed or payments that were more than legally allowed.
As more and more people get behind on their debts, the likelihood that they will experience creditor abuse will increase. If you are one of the many consumers who are on the receiving end of this abuse, be sure to contact a consumer attorney or legal aid center in your community to find out what your rights are.
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