The debt collection industry has become a $12-billion-a-year business, as people have fallen behind on bills due to exorbitant hospital bills, crushing student loans or sky high interest credit cards. The recession has impacted many Americans lives, resulting in a sharp increase in the number of people dealing with debt collectors, an estimated 30 million this year, which is up nearly 50% from 2003.
The good news is that federal regulators, as well as state lawmakers, are starting to fight back for the regular American being hounded and harassed. Several large debt collectors are now faced with lawsuits filed by state attorneys general and private lawyers. They are charged with aggressive collection tactics, including threats of arrest, harassment of relatives and failing to investigate the facts when pursuing debts.
And there have been major successes. In January, Asset Acceptance, a national debt buyer agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission concerning allegations it had deceived people when trying to collect debts. Encore Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management agreed to pay as much as $5.7 million to settle an Ohio class action suit about using false affidavits in debt-collection lawsuits. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also considering new regulations for debt collectors.
Knowing there is someone out there to help with debt collectors is a welcome relief to people who feel they have no recourse. So what can you do? First, consumers should know that they have rights under federal law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law prevents debt collectors from using abusive, unfair or deceptive practices. If a debt collector is found to be in violation, the law (“FDCPA”) allows you to sue the collector, stop the calls and get paid damages (up to $1,000) plus all of your attorney costs are covered. At Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers, we represent you for free. We fight the debt collectors that wish to harass and intimidate consumers. The consumer walks away with a measure of justice and a check from the debt collector.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin at [email protected] for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your rights as a consumer, visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com for informative, how to videos on consumer financial protection. We are here to fight for you. Call us today! 888-293-2882