Bill collectors have long been the bane of consumers who have to delay payment through no fault of their own, or actually are victims of information and data that becomes watered down when files and portfolios are horse-traded amongst the various debt collection agencies.
There have been numerous instances where consumers have been subjected to bill collector harassment for accounts that have long since been paid in full or are not even owed at all.
DriveTime got into trouble with the feds for improper collection practices. Amongst the findings of an investigation was a lack of adequate written policy guiding bill collectors along the path to a legal, fair and equitable debt collection process. Guidelines for collectors, it has been reported, amounted to only 1.5 pages and lacked any guidance and decorum for handling disputes with consumers who balked at having to pay or balked at the debt collector harassment. The woefully inadequate policy had not been updated for three years.
DriveTime was also accused of reporting inaccurate current balance information on charged-off accounts, timings of repossessions and the dates of a first delinquency. It was noted that DriveTime handled up to 22,000 disputes each year, and yet there were only two employees assigned to the task.
DriveTime was also accused of calling debtors at their places of employment, even after receiving do-not-call requests. Calls to third-party references were reportedly continued even after the third parties asked for the calls to stop.
DriveTime was also found to have repeatedly called numbers obtained from third-party vendors - numbers that were not necessarily associated with the debtor. The end result is that innocent strangers were in the line of fire for bill collector harassment, while having nothing to do with either the debt file or the individual(s) involved.
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Debt collection has evolved into an industry that relies heavily on bullying tactics and ignorance of specific guidelines aimed at curbing bill collector harassment. Calls are not to be made to a debtor’s workplace, collection notices need to be in blind envelopes and a debt collector is required to stop calling if requested to do so in writing by the debtor.
Many collectors not only ignore such requests, but continue debt collector harassment behavior based on information and data that is inaccurate.
Little wonder that many consumers initiate a debt collector lawsuit in an effort to make the abuse stop, and to achieve some form of compensation for the harassment to which they are subjected.