Friday, November 18, 2011

FTC reports rapid increase in complaints against debt collectors

According to a USA Today story Friday Nov. 18, 2011 (front page) by Oren Dorell, complaints about abusive debt collection practices are accumulating more rapidly than in any other industry, including debt consolidation and other financial services.

The increase in complaints has risen from about 100000 in 2008 to over 140000 in 2010.

Companies vary in how strictly they enforce the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) with their collectors, who typically make less than $13 an hour but get bonuses for performance.  And I know from my own experience in Minnesota in 2003, where an interviewer, for a job that I did not get, asked me about assertiveness, that companies do push employees into manipulating others.  (I did get a job with a different company and did fairly well before moving back to the East Coast later in 2003.)

Is this increase in complaints mainly about individual debt collectors, about specific debt collection companies, or against the industry itself?  Many of the abuses occur with debts that the companies have purchased outright for cents on the dollar.

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