A person who is late in making a debt payment or is past due on one or more payments will in many cases be contacted by a debt collection agency. While the entity that owns a debt has a right to collect what is owed, there are limits to the tactics that can be used to collect it. For instance, the debt collector is not allowed to list a debtor's name to anyone or any entity other than a credit reporting agency.
Minnesota residents may dread getting contacted by debt collectors and fear the repercussions of delinquent accounts, but they might not be aware of what collection agencies are actually allowed to do and say. Some debt collectors go too far when trying to get payments, and consumers have rights when dealing with harassment and threats from collection agencies.
Minnesota residents might not be aware that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tracks complaints and litigation cases in regard to debt collectors. The amount of complaints declined from July to August, but there has been an increase in consumer litigation cases in the past 12 months.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors may be limited in what they can say or do to collect their debt. However, a new opinion recently issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit may provide more guidance into what a debt collector actually is. In the case involving Capital One Bank, the plaintiff asked that Capital One be considered a debt collector as it had purchased $1 billion in credit card debt that was in default from HSBC.
Financial challenges can be difficult for people in Minnesota for many reasons. One has to do with debt collection practices some companies might use. In many instances, those involved in debt collection will use many different tactics, including creditor harassment, to get what they want. This type of behavior has resulted in the Federal Trade Commission pursuing a California-based collection group for various legal violations.
Discover Financial Services has been ordered to pay approximately $16 million in restitution and another $2.5 million in fines for illegal collection practices with respect to private student loans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Discover is mostly known for credit cards, but the company allegedly overcharged student loan borrowers, denied them tax benefits, called them early in the morning and late at night and engaged in other illegal acts. This will affect more than 100,000 borrowers in Minnesota and around the country.
Many Minnesota residents have gone through the disappointing experience of finding a collection account on their credit report that they never received a bill for. Often, collection agencies will engage in a practice called 'parking" debt where they report a debt to the credit bureaus before communicating with the debtor.
For people in Minnesota who are confronted with overwhelming debt, trying to catch up while simultaneously dodging calls from debt collectors can be difficult. There is often no respite from aggressive debt collection practices. Some of these attempts at collection cross the line from following the rules to breaking them by violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There are a few circumstances in which it is possible to move forward with a lawsuit due to questionable practices by debt collectors.
A Missouri woman was awarded $83 million by a jury who found that she was wrongly harassed over a debt that she did not owe. The woman was taken to court by Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC after the company claimed that she had a past due credit card debt of $1,000. However, the debt actually belonged to a man in the same area with a similar name.
People in Minnesota who find themselves in a tenuous situation with debt are frequently targets of con artists who portray themselves as debt collection agencies or individuals who are authorized to collect debts. These con artists are putting new technology to use with the internet in garnering information about potential targets. They utilize that information to appear credible and get money.