Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Sleazy debt collectors are back in the national spotlight, thanks to a recent investigative report from ABC World News Tonight.
Complaints against debt collectors have increased 17 percent over the past year. And reporter Elisabeth Leamy shines light on some of the industry's most shocking tactics, such as use of obscene and racist language and threats to have alleged debtors arrested.
The ABC story certainly grabs the viewer's attention, focusing on collectors that probably are on the fringe of the industry. (See link to video below.) But we would like to see Leamy follow up with a piece about the slightly more subtle tactics that some mainstream collectors use. These tactics might not immediately shock the viewer, but they, too, are illegal and probably are highly effective for collectors, helping them turn handsome profits in a time of economic hardship for many Americans.
We also would like to see ABC News focus on the role of debt-collection lawyers, such as Derrick McGavic of Eugene, Oregon, who recently was forced to give up his law license and close his practice after a barrage of consumer complaints.
As regular readers know, Mrs. Schnauzer and I have encountered mainstream collectors, such as Pennsylvania-based NCO, and their lawyers, such as Angie Ingram of Ingram and Associates in Birmingham. Like the sleazy outfits spotlighted by ABC News, NCO and Ingram treat the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as barely a bump in the road, something that doesn't even slow them down in their underhanded pursuit of profit.
Do NCO and Ingram representatives scream obscenities or resort to racist language? We have not experienced that, although they did insult us a number of times. But they do make unlawful threats, of a slightly more subtle variety than the "we're going to have you arrested" standby. And like some of the alleged debtors featured on ABC, we captured these moments on audiotape. We soon will be sharing this audio with Legal Schnauzer readers so you can get a feel for how these outfits operate.