Focus: aggressive debt collection efforts; fighting back

Many consumers in Pennsylvania and across the rest of the country have been on the receiving end of intimidating behavior by debt collection agencies that test the boundaries of law -- or simply surpass them by acting unlawfully -- in their efforts to extract money on debts that are allegedly owed.

Although the unethical behavior of debt collectors ranges widely, it frequently coalesces around a few centrally troubling activities, such as these:

  • Making harassing phone calls
  • Contacting employers
  • Making threats (for example, wage garnishment, litigation)
  • Proceeding with information that is misleading or flatly bogus

As troubling as such things are, new evidence has emerged to indicate that many collection companies and debt buyers are now engaging in an even more objectionable activity that they hope will bring easy rewards, namely this: Filing lawsuits en masse against consumers, hoping that defendants will not present a challenge in court. That scenario is often resulting in default judgments issued by what one recent media article on the matter terms “overwhelmed judges” who lack the time to delve deeply into claims.

Tragically, those claims are often riddled with errors, especially in cases where debt buyers have purchased old debt from original lenders. In such cases, information can often turn stale.

In fact, myriad stories are now emerging that highlight claims often marked by egregious mistakes. Sometimes a debt has already been paid. In some instances, vital personal information about an alleged debtor is incorrect. Some defendants never owed money at all and, tragically, many of them are reporting that they never received any notice at all that they were targeted in litigation.

Such collection tactics are beyond the pale and should never be tolerated. Consumers may be vulnerable to bad-faith collection efforts, but they are far from powerless in fashioning a forceful response.

A proven debt collection defense attorney can help them do that by investigating collectors’ actions and building a case to challenge inappropriate conduct.

Consumers have rights. An experienced and aggressive legal advocate can help ensure that they are exercised in cases of abusive debt collection activities.

Source: Huffington Post, "Debt collectors have figured out a way to seize your wages and savings," Hunter Stuart, June 2, 2014

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