Government Agency Releases Report on Abusive Debt Collectors

A recent report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) showed that complaints about abusive debt collectors were the most common complaints in 2010 (second only to identity theft). In 2010, the FTC received over 144,000 complaints about debt collectors, which was up 17 percent from 2009. The shocking statistic is that over 4,100 of the complaints about debt collectors involved threats of physical violence.

A spokesperson from the National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) said that abuse and harassment from debt collectors is reaching “epic proportions.” He said collectors are calling people at work and calling neighbors inappropriately more than ever. One consumer reported a collector using racial slurs and sexually degrading comments about his wife when attempting to collect consumer debt.

Another consumer reported a collector accusing his father of molestation, and then he told the consumer to jump in front of a train and kill himself. The consumer recorded the abusive calls and immediately hired an attorney. A New York-based journalist added that he went undercover as a debt collector for three months. During that time, his supervisors trained and encouraged collectors to do illegal things.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977 (FDCPA) governs debt collection. It prohibits profane, abusive and threatening language by debt collectors. A Washington DC bankruptcy lawyer can help you if you feel overwhelmed by debt. Contact a Washington DC bankruptcy attorney for a free phone consultation.

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