I was shocked and saddened to read about a story of an individual who received so many dunning notices and collection calls from a New Jersey Rent-a-Center, that he walked into the store and set himself on fire. As a debt collector, this is the sort of thing that gives me great pause.
People are under a lot of pressure these days. People are losing their jobs and their homes. A good debt collector plies pressure to people to get them to pay their debts. However, it is the rare instance when a debt collector knows about a person’s other pressures in life. When a debt collector chronically duns someone who is already under a great deal of pressure, well its just like pushing a balloon against a pin…something has to give. In this case, it was Mr. Saladriagas’ sanity. He was the individual who torched himself.
Thankfully, the employees at Rent-A-Center came to his aid and doused him with water. Their lives, like Mr. Saladriagas’ skin, will never be the same.
As debt collectors, the people at Rent-A-Center will have to ask themselves if they went too far in attempting to collect their debt from Mr. Saladrigas. Its too easy to write him off as a nut job, although it is not out of the question. This story gives me great pause and causes me to examine our procedures for collecting debts as well.