As of early December, the debt of the average American's credit card for the first time in history exceeded $ 5,000. At about the same amount each resident owes for unpaid taxes on time, fees and fines (overdue tickets for traffic violations, public and arendatorskie payments, child support, etc.)
Considering the fact that 64% of Americans today do not have even thousands of dollars on an emergency case (statistics of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling — National Foundation for Credit Counseling), it is not hard to imagine the difficulties faced by the company to collect debts. These businesses are in the difficult situation and are struggling to stay afloat.
Currently, under strong pressure from collection agencies are about 30 million people in the United States. Complaints against debt collectors who, in the opinion of the debtors' regularly violate professional ethics "are hardly the most popular in the country.
However, to get the collectors to respect the laws and abide by the operating instructions may only prosecutors and the courts. However, these bodies during the worst economic crisis loaded with more important things.
As a result, the relationship between debtors and collectors today do not stand up to scrutiny. Internet sites to protect the human rights of hundreds of thousands of stories abound about how people are knocked out of debt. The worst thing is that the psychological (and sometimes physical) pressure reservoir every day leads to suicides, heart attacks, nervous breakdowns, crime and other unfortunate events.
So, Jack C. of Nevada receives from the collectors to 30 phone calls, 16 emails and 4 paper reminders every day. "They want to scare me, and bring to mind — he said. — I feel like a victim of an unseen maniac who is always there somewhere. From the collection agency call even at night … "
Jack was trying to get justice, but nothing came of it. The less debt collection agency, the more difficult to call him to order. Even the recent changes in federal law, which will come into force on 1 January 2013, mean greater control over the activities of agencies with an annual profit of $ 10 million. Engage in no small collectors still do not plan to.
A resident of Colorado R. Miranda called the police when he first heard the voice of the collector on the telephone. The caller seemed to her an evil man, angry and being under the influence of drugs. The police, however, the woman did not help.
"If your address has not been said direct threats, it all happened within the law," — stated the only law enforcement officers.
Miranda was scared so much that has changed the phone number. However, that has not stopped collectors. Within a week, she began to receive letters in the strange black envelopes.
"I feel the psychological pressure — again, a woman complained to police. — The requirement to return the money written in big bold letters in red. They remind me of blood. "
Eventually, Miranda collectors paid the required $ 12,000 after they began to send letters to her at work, as well as numerous relatives. This prohibited method, which, no doubt, demeans the debtor collectors used more often.
Bernard E. Texas for nearly five years resisted the debt collection agency. Phone it included only if someone wanted to call, and for letters from the collectors he specifically acquired an electric shredder. Unopened envelopes instantly destroyed.
"I do not want to pay, since the original amount of the debt has grown almost thirty times — says Bernard. — These guys are dreaming of me to impose a tribute to the end of life. I tried several times to negotiate with them, and a few years found himself trapped by buying empty promises. "
Ended "war" with collectors is not the case, as suggested by Bernard. One day at his home marshals came and arrested all the property, which later was put under the hammer at some auction.
"I knew that from my junk they do not help out, and three hundred dollars — says Bernard. — However, the purpose of debt collectors was to humiliate me. "
It is on the "institutionalized humiliation" now built a business of many private agencies to collect debts. They are buying for a song debts of the banks and the federal (full-time municipal) agencies, which, of course, can not deal with debtors too blatantly (imagine if some of the IRS began receiving letters in black envelopes), and then begin to mock every way over cornered people.
The main danger is that by law, collectors can cause debtors to court countless times. The judges of these things do not even consider, however, to appear before the person is obliged to Themis. As a result, people spend a full day on a useless trip to court.
"I received two summonses for a month — says Mary T., a resident of Illinois. — Every time I had to spend eight o'clock waiting in packed to people hallway of the court. And all because I have not had a chance to repay a debt of $ 950. "
The fun began after Mary ignored the third call to the court. Then the woman was arrested and sentenced to three days in prison for contempt of court. Moreover, during the sentencing Actor law clarified that the punishment is not related to debts.
Theoretically, any debtor can now go to jail. Collectors behave cleverly and constantly looking for loopholes in the laws. For example, in Oregon was the case when letters demanding pay arrears delivered by courier to the seriously ill, the elderly woman. At least once a week long deliveryman rang her door. To get to the door and sign on the mail notification woman took a few minutes. Every time she experienced psychological and physical pain. This, however, and sought debt collectors who did not receive responses to phone calls and ordinary mail.
In West Virginia, there was a most extraordinary case. Collectors have made through the court permission to take the vehicle to one local resident. They drove the car in the early morning, not even thinking about that the debtor lives seven miles from the nearest store. In fact, the man was cut off from the outside world. Fortunately, the hand was a cell phone.
In conclusion, I want to give readers some useful tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of debt collection agencies.
First, do not worry and take care of health. Remember that 30 million Americans are already subject to regular "attacks" of collectors, and another 70 million are "under the gun" collectors. The debtor in America — not criminal. He's just a man who is experiencing temporary financial difficulties.
Second, conduct yourself with debt collectors strictly, but delicately. At the first interview ask to send all the accurate information concerning the activities of the collection agency (address, phone, fax, license registration numbers, the names of the leaders), as well as all possible plans to return the debt.
If you do, then the collector immediately realize that they are dealing with a very difficult person. There were times when collectors having their "skeletons in the closet", instantly forgot about knowledgeable in the laws of the debtor.
Third, it is easier to treat common myths about what debts can rob you of the state of benefits, cause deportation or failure to obtain U.S. citizenship. It is theoretically possible, but in reality, only a few dozen of the 30 million debtor receive such fate.
Immigration and social penalties are possible only in cases where the debt — a consequence of pre-planned fraud.
Fourth, remember the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau of practice. These structures have accurate and complete information on the activities of collection agencies. They are capable to answer any of your questions. If you are going to mention the commission and the bureau in conversations with collectors, it instantly will increase the discipline and responsibility of the latter.
Fifth, every citizen of the United States has the right to get rid of debt by total or partial failure. If you do not believe me, then type in the internet search engine the phrase «Bankruptcy. Chapter 7. Chapter 13, "and learn a lot of interesting things. Many Americans do not know anything about the rules of bankruptcy and therefore, being in despair, do terrible deeds (think of how many debtors with the onset of the crisis imposed by his own hand, and before that killed relatives).
And finally, here is an interesting fact that American psychologists have experimentally confirmed in the 80-ies of the last century by getting rid of debt after three or more years of "war" with the creditors (collectors, banks, federal agencies), almost 80% of people are beginning to live on the principle of "how many earned — and spent so much." And the economy, in turn, helps people to strengthen almost all will power.
They are determined, courageous, patient, self-reliant, and most importantly — really happy. So even if you are completely mired in financial debt, do not forget — sooner or later, you are guaranteed an incomparable pleasure …