The Center for Responsible Lending has issued a new report that has revealed what many consumers have been saying for many years and that is that debt collectors frequently use abusive behaviors in order to secure payment for a debt.
From harsh language and lying about the debt to forging documents, state and federal regulators and investigators have found that debt collectors exercise a pattern of abuse within the debt recovery industry.
Recent investigations have resulted in debt collectors having to pay millions of dollars in fines for multiple offenses. These are illegal acts because they go against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
This report came after a number of state legislators started considering legislation that put new rules in place that are designed to protect consumers. Much of this proposed protection is for those who do not owe debts or the debts are stale. Many individuals are facing wage garnishment and lawsuits for debts that they do not owe the money for or are very old and being renewed by the collections agencies.
An analysis by the Center for Responsible Lending found that many consumers are unfairly hurt by the actions of debt collectors. These debt collectors improperly use the court system to collect debts. The burden of proof falls on the consumer when it should fall on the debt collector before a lawsuit is initiated.
Debt collectors and buyers purchase debt from creditors and then they attempt to collect on the debt. Collectors will often engage in predatory and illegal behavior in order to get consumers to pay the debt.
The business model of the abusive debt collector relies on pursuing quick judgments. The consumers typically do not appear at these hearing and that results in a default judgment of wage garnishment. Some consumers that share similar names with others or they are a Jr. or a Sr., find themselves dealing with the wage garnishments of others. At times this is because the documentation is deliberately incorrect.
The report released by the Center for Responsible Lending gives details on recent cases brought by attorney generals of different states. These cases showed that debt collectors sued over debt that was very old, engaged in harassing tactics, and even used illegal methods to collect on debt. The interest charged in many cases was way too high and false documents were presented to the courts.
The debt collector abuse found in federal cases included robo-signed documents that were used to file over 300,000 lawsuits against consumers on debts that exceeded the statute of limitations.
Lawmakers have been encouraged to combat these abuses by requiring debt collectors to verify that consumers owe the debt that the collectors are claiming they owe. They want this verification to occur before there is ever a court case. If adequate documentation cannot be produced, then court cases would not be able to move forward.