There could be no national economy without debt. Owing money is one of those things that is just a part of life. However, personal debt can get out of control and people may find it difficult to pay back the money that they owe to creditors. This is where debt collection comes into the equation. And it turns out that the people of this country are having some very big problems with debt collections companies. There are over 6,000 of these companies in the country and some of them use aggressive collections tactics in order to reclaim money that people owe.
There have been so many complaints about debt collections companies that the CFPB is proposing new rules that are designed to help bring this industry under control a bit, while providing some much-needed relief for American consumers who are struggling with repaying their debts.
There are more than 130,000 people who work in the debt collection industry and those folks bring in over $13 billion each year. This industry has become more complex over the past few years. Some creditors will sell outstanding debts for pennies on the dollar. Third party debt collection firms purchase these debts and often use some very shady tactics to get their job done.
Chiming in on the current state of debt collections in the United States the CFPB Director, Richard Cordray said, “Often debt collectors are motivated to go to almost any lengths to try to extract as much as they possibly can from the debtor. This is because they are typically paid based on the amount they collect, the relationship may be fleeting, and the more distant risk of being called to account later may not outweigh the immediate urgency of getting paid today.”
If Cordray and the CFPB get their way, here are some of the things debt collectors will not be able to do in the future:
- Collect on debts that do not exist. Some consumers have been hit up by debt collectors for money that they don’t even owe. This happens sometimes due to error and sometimes due to fraud on the part of debt collections companies. The CFPB has proposed that collectors will have to verify that a debt exists prior to beginning any collections actions.
- Demanding payment without letting consumers know their rights. Debt collectors often rely on using confusing statements when they contact people. Debt collections companies will often only let people know their rights via cryptic, legalistic language the most people cannot understand. The CFPB wants to make these types of communications more transparent and easy to understand for consumers.
- Endlessly harassing people to repay. Some collections agencies will call and even email people non-stop. They seem to think that the more they annoy people the more likely it is that they will be able to collect. The CFPB has proposed that limits be put on how many times debt collections agencies are allowed to make contact with consumers. The proposed limit is 6 times per week that agencies are allowed to contact people. This applies to phone calls, email or even letters sent to people.
The best way to avoid the hassles of dealing with debt collectors is to avoid getting in so much debt that you cannot repay what you owe. However, sometimes that is impossible, and sometimes you may not even really own money, but still wind up getting hassled by debt collectors. These new limitations should help people to avoid the potential nightmare that can happen when dealing with the worst kinds of debt collections companies.