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A Reporter Goes Undercover to Expose the Debt-Collection Industry

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Message Roger Shuler

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

America consists of two kinds of people--those who have heard from debt collectors and those who probably will hear from debt collectors.

In a nation of easy credit, most Americans are just a few late payments away from entering the murky netherworld of collection companies, outfits with names like NCO, Mann Bracken, LVNV, and Asset Acceptance. Never heard of those? If you have a credit card, you probably will someday.

When collection phone calls start coming--often accompanied by unlawful threats, misrepresentations, and other forms of deceit--most Americans have no idea what they are getting into. I know because I used to be one of those clueless Americans.

I had to educate myself about the sharks that swim in the churning, poorly regulated waters of the debt-collection business. But you won't have to do that if you make author Fred Williams your friend.

Williams, probably the foremost debt-collection journalist in the country, has written a book that is indispensable for consumers who want to be prepared when the collection calls start coming. It's called

Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices: Know Your Rights and Protect Yourself From Threats, Lies, and Intimidation (FT Press, 2011).

That's an unwieldy title, and it doesn't do Williams' book justice. The FT in FT Press stands for Financial Times, and the publisher is an imprint of Pearson Prentice Hall. The book apparently was marketed as a specialty book, in the personal finance genre.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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