It is reported that approximately 70 million American consumers, including some in Ohio, have unpaid debts. Over 6,000 debt collection agencies nationwide are tasked with collecting these past-due amounts, and many have made themselves guilty of harassment. It is not uncommon for debt collectors to be abusive, and a list of recently proposed rules may protect consumers about some of their aggressive tactics.
The new rules that were proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau include some that may prevent agencies contacting people without verifying the details from the lender. Before a call is made, the collector will have to check the consumer’s full name and also substantiate the debt. It is also proposed that the number of calls made to a borrower is limited to six calls per week and that the consumer may put a limit on calls during working hours.
In the initial contact, the consumer’s rights under federal law must be explained, along with the detailed information of the debt in collection. Furthermore, any dispute of debt by a lender will put an immediate stop to the collection efforts until a proper check is carried out. This may ensure that calls are not made about nonexistent debts or debts belonging to another individual because the consumer’s details were not properly verified.
Added to the laws already in place to protect consumers in Ohio and other states, the proposed reforms may put an end to unwarranted harassment by debt collection agencies. Consumers who are being harassed by collectors about paid debts may wish to consult with a lawyer who can attempt to put a stop to collection efforts. However, for validated debts that a debtor cannot settle, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can explain how a personal bankruptcy filing can put an end to such harassment.
Source: kansascity.com, “Help is on the way to deal with aggressive debt collector practices”, Steve Rosen, Aug. 5, 2016