debt collection

18 Stories

'Ruthless' Debt Collectors Accused of $31M Fraud

NY firm accused of bullying, threatening victims

(Newser) - More than a dozen employees of a Buffalo, NY, firm are accused of lying to, threatening, and bullying thousands of people across the US in what officials say is the biggest debt-collection fraud ever prosecuted. Some 15 employees of Four Star Resolution have been charged with fraudulently collecting $31 million,... More »

Bill Collectors Pester Wrong Guy for Nearly 2 Decades

And Matthew Hartigan isn't alone

(Newser) - Nobody likes having bill collectors on their case. Especially if it's a case of mistaken identity—one that has persisted for 17 years. Such is the case for Matthew Hartigan of Clearwater, Fla., writes Philadelphia Inquirer business columnist Jeff Gelles. Somehow, somewhere, a computer became convinced that Hartigan is... More »

A Third of US Is on Debt Collectors' Books

Average amount owed: $5K

(Newser) - More than a third of Americans with credit scores have debt "in collections"—meaning one in three of us has been reported to collection agencies, a study finds. That's a total of 77 million people whose non-mortgage debt is significantly overdue, the Urban Institute notes. The study... More »

Capital One: We Can Visit Cardholders at Home, Work

New contract has some pretty creepy language

(Newser) - Capital One's new update for credit card holders contains some language that sounds pretty alarming to David Lazarus at the Los Angeles Times : The firm says it "may contact you in any manner we choose"—including a "personal visit" that could be "at your home... More »

Aggressive Debt Collector Pays $3.2M Fine

Promises to stop calling people multiple times a day

(Newser) - It's a little solace perhaps for people besieged by phone calls morning, noon, and night by debt-collection firm Expert Global Solutions: The company agreed to pay the FTC a $3.2 million fine and ease up on the harassment of debtors, reports Reuters . It's the biggest such fine... More »

Amex Refunding $85M in Late-Fee Settlements

The company broke laws 'at all stages of the game'

(Newser) - American Express is paying $112.5 million in refunds and fines to settle regulators' accusations that it charged unlawful late fees and deceived customers to pressure them to pay off old debts or buy extra credit card services. The company agreed to the settlements announced today by four federal agencies,... More »

Debt Collector on Student Loans Made $454K in a Year

With more people defaulting, business is brisk

(Newser) - The growing number of ex-students overwhelmed with student-loan debt might want to consider an apropos career switch—to become a collector of overdue student loans. Sadly, it's no joke. As Bloomberg explains, one such collector made $454,000 in a single year, most of it in bonuses for getting... More »

Debt Collectors Go After Patients ... in the ER

'Patients are harassed mercilessly,' one hospital employee says

(Newser) - One of the country's biggest medical debt collectors has reached a new low: sending employees into hospital emergency rooms to "encourage" patients to pay past medical debts before receiving treatment. The Minnesota attorney general is investigating Accretive Health's practices; its debt collectors are allegedly instructed to all... More »

Dead Woman Signed Debt Collection Affidavits

Or so it seems ... It's a sign of the industry's 'alarming' robo-signing sloppiness

(Newser) - Martha Kunkle signed thousands of affidavits for a large debt collector … after her death in 1995. Portfolio Recovery Associates says her signature hasn’t been used since 2008, when its invalidity was first questioned—well, uh, except in one case last July that a rep claims was “inadvertent”... More »

Debt Collectors Stalking Facebook

Fla. woman sues creditor who hounded her online

(Newser) - A Florida woman who says debt collectors used Facebook to harass her and her family over an unpaid car loan is taking the collection agency to court. She is seeking damages and an injunction preventing the agency from using social media to contact her, ABC News reports. Her attorney says... More »

Debtor’s Prison Makes Its Ugly Return

Government 'shakes down' citizens for collectors

(Newser) - Strongly worded letters and menacing phone calls aren't enough, it seems, to whip America's debtors into shape. Instead, the country's collection industry is turning to civil courts, using taxpayer money and government resources to pursue "low level deadbeats," finds Reason . The process pits debtors against a system that... More »

Arbitration Firms Quit Consumer Debt Biz

Credit card, cell phone companies scramble to collect by themselves

(Newser) - Credit card and cell phone companies are scrambling as two major arbitration firms back out of the business of settling consumer disputes, the Wall Street Journal reports. The National Arbitration Forum—accused in a Minnesota lawsuit of misleading consumers into thinking it was impartial—will stop taking cases this week,... More »

Debt Settlers Promise Relief, Provide Little

Cash-strapped consumers claim companies charge fees without reducing debt

(Newser) - State attorneys general are being overwhelmed with complaints about “debt settlement” companies that promise consumers relief from mounting bills but rarely deliver, the New York Times reports. The number of such companies, which often collect fees of 15% of the total debt to negotiate with creditors, has tripled in... More »

Debt Collectors Fleece Relatives of the Dead

Getting bereaved to pay up one of the healthiest parts of industry

(Newser) - Bankruptcy and defaults are all the rage these days, but one group is being targeted to pay up: the dead. Entire debt collection agencies have cropped up that specialize in calling bereaved relatives and convincing them to pay the deceased’s debts, even though they have no legal obligation to... More »

BofA Tricks People Into Paying the Dead's Bills

Bank accused of shady practices in collecting cash from bereaved relatives

(Newser) - Bank of America has been misleading customers into believing they have to pay off the credit card bills of dead relatives, TPM reports. One customer was outraged when a bank rep tried to first trick, and then guilt-trip him into paying his dead mother's bills. A former rep for the... More »

Indian Debt Collectors See US' Dark Side

Outsourced call centers get ring-side seat for economic crash

(Newser) - Most Indian call center employees develop a fairly utopian view of the US, which seems a land of brand-name splendor and plenty. Not so at Aegis BPO Services, a call center specializing in debt collection, where employees are getting an up-close and personal look at the credit crunch. “It’... More »

Spain's Debt Solution: Shame Delinquents Into Paying

Debt collectors aim to embarrass by arriving in lavish costume

(Newser) - As personal debt grows in Spain, debt-collectors are taking the trick-or-treat approach, donning costumes—tuxes, bagpipers’ gear, Pink Panther suits—and knocking on doors. If all goes as planned, neighbors take note and the debtor is embarrassed into paying, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The idea is to make... More »

Indian Phone Banks Tackle US Debt Collection

Cheaper and better workers draw American agencies overseas

(Newser) - As individuals' debt grows in a tough economy, US debt-collection agencies are expanding into India, where collectors work more cheaply—and are often better, the New York Times reports. Indian collectors are “very polite, very respectful, and they don’t raise their voice,” says one CEO. And a... More »

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