A recent report by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) highlights the ongoing problem of debt collection practices and the high number of complaints debt collectors produce through their unethical, often illegal tactics.
The federal agency accepts complaints about a number of consumer financial products including bank accounts, credit cards, private student loans, mortgages and payday loans.
Not surprisingly, debt collection has generated the most complaints month after month of any financial service or product since the agency began fielding complaints about debt collection companies in 2013. People being harassed by debt collectors have filed more than 163,000 complaints with the CFPB.
Complaints about debt collectors accounted for 32 percent of the total complaints submitted in June 2015 to the CFPB.
The most frequent issue cited by consumers in complaints is debt collectors’ repeated attempts to collect debts that the consumers say are not owed.
The second most common issue cited is debt collectors’ communication tactics including repeated phone calls and calls at inconvenient times of the days such as early morning or late at night. The law states that debt collectors can only call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
By repeated harassing phone calls or calling at inconvenient times such when you are at work, debt collectors seek to intimidate consumers to pay debts that are not owed.
According to the CFPB, the companies that generated the most complaints were:
- Enhanced Recovery Company
- Encore Capital Group
- Portfolio Recovery Associates
The agency said it received an average of 193 complaints per month about Enhanced Recovery Company.
Here are 10 things that debt collectors are prohibited by Florida law from doing:
- Refusing to provide adequate identification if requested;
- Using obscene, vulgar or abusive language when talking with a debtor or member of the debtor’s family;
- Threatening to use force or violence;
- Pretending to be a law enforcement officer or government official;
- Communicating with the debtor’s employer before getting a final judgment;
- Giving the false impression that the debt collector is associated with an attorney;
- Call a consumer with such frequency as to constitute harassment or abuse;
- Threatening to enforce a debt that is not legitimate;
- Publicize information about the existence of a consumer debt with disclosing the debt is in dispute; and
- Communicate in a manner that simulates a judicial or legal process.
As attorneys who represent consumers who are being harassed by abusive debt collection practices, we understand the tactics that debt collectors employ. We are here to help people who have been harassed by debt collection companies.
If you have had a debt collector use abusive tactics on you, turn to an attorney who stands up for harassed consumers. We can put a stop to the harassment and in some cases, force the debt collection to pay fines for their actions.