|Received:||10/16/2007 11:50:21 AM|
|Organization:||Fugate Law Office|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Debt Collection Workshop|
Comments:My law practice is devoted to helping people who are abused by collection agencies. The problem is widespread and in many cases horrific. I have tape recordings of many of the abuses. Often, collectors use threats of arrest where arrest is not possible. They commonly harass people at work and call the neighbors of those they are trying to collect from. The calls to neighbors are not in an attempt to locate the consumer, but rather a focused effort to embarrass and humiliate people. Many of my clients just simply do not owe the money. I have recently represented a Justice on the Texas Court of Appeals, and a Chief of Police, both of whom were subjected to outrageous threats, including threats to falsely tell a spouse they were having an affair if they did not pay. Neither of them owed the debt. Both collection agencies were ACA members. I have even seen law firms using these tactics. This problem has gotten much worse in the recent years and something must be done to make it unproffitable to break the law. All collection agencies should be licensed and should be required to post a bond so that victims of their abuse have recourse. I have a lot of uncollectable judgments against collection agencies who do not care if they are sued and often just change their name once they have judgments against them. The owners incorporate and hide behind the corporate entity, making huge profits by litterally terrorizing people into paying money, whether they owe it or not. One such company I have pursued is owned by a man on parole for armed robbery. His company even uses threats of physical harm to collect. The police in Texas say it is a New York case and the New York police say it is a Texas case, so no one does anything. Meanwhile this thug gets rich without fear of consequence. There should be clearly defined criminal penalties for certain of these acts that clearly define proper venue, and make it worth while for the prosecutors to pursue these cases. In summary, all segments of the collection industry engage in these abusive tactics, from the publicly traded companies to the small start up comanies and the current laws are just too weak to be effective.