Despite federal laws designed to protect consumers against unscrupulous bill collectors, many of these agencies continue to break those rules.
Over the past 18 months, a personalized, threatening text message went out from a consortium of California debt-collection firms to more than a million cell phones, telling consumers they faced potential arrest if they didn't pay their debt. That threat is illegal.
According to a national consumer complaint database maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, the number of incidents involving text-messaging scams by debt collectors more than doubled between 2011 and 2012.
However, the texts are just one way debt collectors prey on consumers. Some agencies try to track people down by calling their place of work, while others barrage debtors with threatening letters.
All of these instances can be grounds for a bill collector lawsuit.
People who think they may have grounds to file a debt collector lawsuit should contact a media/telecom lawyer who specializes in unfair business practices and unauthorized use of the media.
And those considering filing a debt collector lawsuit should know that the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, has taken a strong stand on the issue - saying he wants to make sure that those responsible for the harassment stop the illegal behavior.
Cordray told the Washington Post recently that he wants the agency to be more aggressive in enforcing the laws designed to protect consumers and make sure they are treated fairly.