There is no shortage of reasons to be upset at debt collectors. Some are just assholes. But the problem is not all are.
Some debt collectors actually want to help people to find ways to repay their debt. They want to play by the rules and follow the regulations.
The bad debt collectors just give the entire industry a bad rap. But the primary reason there are bad actors is because it is often easier to collect through intimidation rather than cooperation.
To make the situation more flammable, some consumers get downright nasty when a debt collector calls. They take out their emotional turbulence and life frustrations on the person who is asking them to be accountable. I get it. The good debt collectors understand. Not every consumer is a corresponding asshole.
And if we walked on the side of the debt collector for just a moment, a court case recently ruled a debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when the consumers account number with the collector could be seen through the address window of the envelope.
The following is from Collections & Credit Risk, “Convergent Outsourcing, formerly ER Solutions, sent the letter in 2011 to pursue a debt allegedly owed to T-Mobile and, with her name and address, it had listed her account number with Convergent. The FDCPA prohibits anything other than the collection agency’s address appearing on an envelope that carries a collection letter. In this case, the account number was not on the envelope, but the location on the actual letter made it visible.
The appellate panel rejected Convergent Outsourcing’s arguments that the account number is meaningless, ruling instead that it is information that possibly could identify the debtor.
Senior Judge Anthony Scirica, referring to plaintiff Courtney Douglass, stated that the disclosure of Douglass’ account number raises privacy concerns.
“The account number is a core piece of information pertaining to Douglass’ status as a debtor and Convergent’s debt collection effort. Disclosed to the public, it could be used to expose her financial predicament. Because Convergent’s disclosure implicates core privacy concerns, it cannot be deemed benign.” – Source
If it violates the Act then it does but it is a good example of the never ending set of small puzzle pieces a debt collector has to deal with. It just goes to show you how easy it is for the collector to wind up in the weeds.
Maybe what debt collectors and debtors need is some magic wand that can help both parties align their mutual goals to the current realities. I’ll let you know when I find that wand.
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