Collection calls are dreaded and can create bone-chilling effect on the debtors. It’s not misplaced fear even, and the recent revelations about the debt collector harassment can prove that. Collectors can actually be represented as the protagonist of the horror stories, since they can go to any extent to extract as much money as possible out of the debtors.
Check out how collectors can stoop down to an all-time low to abuse the debtor.
- Pose as an attorney or law firm – A debtor, who prefers to remain anonymous, had complained against the Texas based debt collector Goldman Schwatrz. Collection agents from Schwatrz had called her up and posed to be from a law firm once and then later on, had claimed to be working in co-operation with a law enforcement agency. After incessant phone calls to her, the agent even called up her workplace and informed her co-workers that he was going to arrest her for alleged non-payment of a payday loan debt. Another debt collector, Unicredit faces lawsuit since they decorated their office to look like a courtroom and held fake court proceedings to frighten the debtors into paying.
- Threaten to take away children – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had received several complaints against Goldman Schwartz, before they finally decided to shut the collection agency down. Along with the regular collection threats to send the debtors to jail, they even went to the extent of saying that the minor children of the debtors would be taken into government custody by the police or child protective services.
- Threaten to dig up the deceased family members – Rumson, Bolling & Associates were penalized more than $700,000 in January, 2013 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The collectors representing the agency had taken harassment to a degrading level. They had asked a debtor to pay the due funeral bills, or else, they stated that they would unearth the bodies of the debtor’s deceased children and hang them from trees or leave them outside his door.
- Threaten to harm pets – Debt collection agencies have also tried to make the debtors pay by threatening to hurt their beloved pets. A certain debtor had been contacted by the collectors at Rumson, Bolling & Associates, and was asked to cough up the money she owed. They had tried to scare her by telling that they will arrest her dog, shoot it, and then maybe, even eat it up otherwise.
- Try to collect debts that aren’t even owed – Non-existing or paid off old debts are bought, flipped and tried to collect on by certain collection agencies. Scam artists or illegal collectors have been found to steal database from payday lenders, and then had tried to collect on them. Recently, an individual named Kirit Patel have been accused of similar charges, who had extracted more than $5.2 million from the unsuspecting debtors.
Filing nuisance lawsuits and clogging up the courts are used as other ways to drive the debtors into desperation, so that they end up paying. Suzanne Martindale, Staff Attorney for Consumers Union had even pointed out that most of the collectors target consumers and scare them into paying, even though the debts are not legitimate.
Such, unfair debt collection practices and the illegitimate collectors taint the reputation of other legitimate collection agencies. Thankfully, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act bestows power in the hands of the US citizens, so that they can build up their own wall against the unfair debt collectors. The FDCPA ensures that you get a peaceful sleep at night.