debt collection

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Debt Collectors Have a New Tool: Social Media

Consumer advocates fear harassment, scams

(Newser) - People with social media accounts could be receiving more friend requests than usual. It might be because debt collectors now can use social media to reach people who owe money, the Washington Post reports. Text messages could increase, too. The changes in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act were introduced...

Medical Debt Study Lands on Stunning Number

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans had medical debt that was in collections in June 2020

(Newser) - How much of our medical debt do you think is in the hands of debt collectors? A 2016 study put the figure at $81 billion—and new research says that's way off. A paper published Tuesday in JAMA made use of 10% of all credit reports from TransUnion and...

Some Call This Debt Solution 'Pragmatic.' Others, Cruel

Edda the pug was put up for sale on eBay after family couldn't pay its bills

(Newser) - A family of five in Germany that fell on hard times had one prized possession: their 1-year-old purebred pug, Edda. But after not being able to pay their bills, including an almost $90 annual dog tax levied by the city of Ahlen, a debt collector came up with what a...

Using Contractors to Collect $6.7M Cost IRS $20M

Watchdog says program is harming taxpayers

(Newser) - The Internal Revenue Service's outsourcing of tax debt collection is costing the IRS about $3 for every $1 it brings in, according to a report from a federal watchdog. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, head of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, said in her annual report to Congress Wednesday that...

Scam Debt Collectors Finally Picked the Wrong Target
Scam Debt Collectors Finally
Picked the Wrong Target

Scam Debt Collectors Finally Picked the Wrong Target

'Now I’m going to make sure that I just ruin your life'

(Newser) - It was the rape threat that did it. Rhode Island salesman Andrew Therrien got a call from a debt collector in 2015 claiming he owed $700 on a payday loan. The 33-year-old was certain he didn't owe anything and thought he was being scammed. “I’m a person...

'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,...

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...

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...

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...

Aggressive Debt Collector Pays $3.2M Fine
Aggressive Debt Collector
Pays $3.2M Fine
in case you missed it

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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”...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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