Even the powerful must contend with abusive debt collectors

It began innocently enough when she changed her cellphone number. The U.S. Senator began to receive calls at her newly acquired number for a man named Gus. Elizabeth Warren didn't know who Gus might be, but she knew that the collection agency that was after him was pushing the limits of what is allowed in collections efforts.

Before she became a Senator, she had been responsible for creation and then the operation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency helps educate consumers about a wide spectrum of financial matters, including abusive debt collection practices.

But even Warren, with her academic background and practical experience in consumer protection matters struggled to find out who was trying to contact Gus and to get the harassing calls to stop.

But the inability to get the harassment and abuse to stop wasn't for lack of trying. "I tried — and I could never figure out who I was talking to," she said in an interview. "And each time they'd assure me it was going to be fixed. And each time I'd get another collection call within the space of a few hours."

She tried repeatedly to make the calls end, but found that the only method that really worked was to get rid of the phone number.

"As far as I know, there's still debt collectors calling that number," she said.

Warren told CNBC that the experience was frustrating, even for a Senator with a long history in consumer protection advocacy. She said there is no great moral to the story, but that she learned the hard way what so many others have learned: "Debt collection calls suck."

There is no doubt about that, but we know that in many cases, collection abuse can be stopped. You can discuss your situation with a Philadelphia attorney dedicated to consumer protection.

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