New federal agency monitors debt collectors

It is an unfortunate truth that some debt collection agencies can be downright vicious. Some have even pushed Illinois consumers into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to get some relief from a debt collector's relentless pursuits. The problem has reached such a proportion that there is now another federal agency that consumers can report over-reaching debt collectors.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in helping consumers who are being harassed by debt collection agencies that cross the line. The CFPB will also being focusing its efforts on making sure that banks and other lenders who conduct their own debt collection activities are not doing anything illegal. This has been an area that has needed more oversight since most of the spotlight has been on debt collection agencies. 

As if to punctuate the fact that these agencies mean business, the FTC recently fined the largest debt collector in the country $3.2 million for debt collection practices that violate the Fair Debt Collection Act. The CFPB takes complaints to be sure, but it is also empowering consumers by giving sample letters that can be sent to debt collectors to get reign in their harassment. One template is for a letter that can get them to stop calling at all.

As the economy continues to improve and Illinois residents begin to get back on their feet, the last thing they need it continual harassment from debt collectors. Getting them to stop calling is a good thing, but that doesn't mean the debt went away. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can make that debt go away and give consumers a fresh start financially.

Source: seattlepi.com, "It Just Got A Lot Easier To Get Debt Collectors Off Your Back," Mandi Woodruff, July 11, 2013

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