Top Complaints About Debt Collectors
“Debt collectors won’t stop calling me at odd hours.”
“I don’t even owe this debt, but they won’t leave me alone about it.”
“They’re telling me they work with the police and I could be arrested if I don’t pay – is this true?”
When you’re facing unpaid debts, concern about debt collector harassment can be very real. In the face of increased concerns about illegal debt collection practices, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was formed to field complaints and help consumers understand their rights and options.
The CFPB recently released a “snapshot” of the most common complaints about debt collection it has received. The report covers complaints fielded by the Bureau since July 2011. Over the past few years, the number of complaints the CFPB has received has risen steadily, from 91,000 complaints in 2012 to over 163,000 in 2013.
According to the CFPB’s analysis, one in every five complaints it has handled in the past three years has dealt with debt collector harassment – the second largest category of complaints. Although consumers reported debt collector harassment over nearly every type of debt imaginable, the most common concerns were voiced by consumers facing harassment over credit card debt, payday loan debt, medical bills, and overdue mortgage payments.
What kinds of debt collection harassment did consumers face? Here’s how the CFPB report breaks down:
- 34 percent of consumers were repeatedly contacted by debt collectors over a debt the consumer did not owe,
- 21 percent were subjected to harassing communication practices, like phone calls at inappropriate hours,
- 14 percent suffered when a debt collector actually took an illegal step to collect the debt – or threatened to do so,
- 13 percent did not receive verification of the debt from the debt collector even when they asked for it in writing,
- 9 percent heard false statements or representations from debt collectors, such as that the debt collector was working with an attorney or law enforcement agency,
- 8 percent reported that their privacy had been violated when the debt collection agency shared information about them improperly.
One complaint the CFPB heard quite often was the complaint that debt collectors were calling consumers’ employers or third parties to try to collect, or that they were calling about debt owed by another person.
What Can I Do If These Things Are Happening To Me?
If this list of common debt collector harassment techniques sounds familiar, you have several options. One is to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov for more information, to leave a complaint, or to view the public Consumer Complaint Database.
Another powerful option available is to work with an experienced attorney who represents consumers. Once you have an attorney, debt collectors must work with your lawyer – and stop bothering you. If debt collectors have violated your legal rights with harassing tactics, you may also be able to recover damages against them. Your lawyer can help you understand, protect, and enforce your legal rights.
At Disparti Law Group, our experienced Florida debt fighting attorneys help you stop debt collector harassment, giving you the time and space you need to get your financial life back on track. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.