In a time when people are in dire economic straits—jobless, homeless, hungry—those in the bill collecting industry have hardened their hearts. The collectors on the other end of the phone line are employing aggressive measures to intimidate and cause persons already struggling with feelings of low self-esteem due to the circumstances they find themselves in to question even more so the significance of their continued existence. There appears to be no obvious sensitivity training required of the callers, nor any customer service etiquette or requirement for any level of professionalism when it comes to bill collecting.
Now, some might think what level of professionalism or courtesy do persons who do not pay their bills deserve? Aren’t they just irresponsible people seeking to avoid legitimately paying their bills? Or, persons who seek to get over on their debtors? After all, who would actually put the need to provide housing, food, or clothing for their child or children above paying off a school loan or credit card debt? Really! Who would do that? Do these people deserve compassion or understanding? Maybe not in the bill collectors’ book of etiquette. However, they do deserve respect and not harassment. The truth of the matter is the collectors do not know the debt owers. It is not their job to know anything other than that they owe an outstanding debt. Yet, I would venture to suggest that few, if any, of these persons they are harassing intentionally went out and assumed a debt they had no intention of paying. But, it is easier for the collectors to lump all into the same category as irresponsible debt avoiders. They seem to be trained to think the worse. If they don’t actually believe, they appear to be trained to act like every loan or debt that was secured at one point in time was done with the intent to not pay? They seem to be trained to think people went to College, spent years in school, studied hard to earn a degree and in some cases, a post bachelor’s degree---only to sit at home and watch bills stack up?
What idiots! Okay, that was not nice, I know. But, it these people (collectors) are allowed to form their misguided opinions of others, why can’t I voice my opinion of their opinions, because my theory about them is---it must take an idiot to think that. And, anyone who has ever received a call from a collector knows only idiots are employed by bill collection agencies. They are idiots who, unlike their targets—out of work due to circumstances not of their own making or desire-- were not qualified to get another job and were given blanket permission without restraints to be obnoxious and to take their own frustrations out on the people they call. Of course, MY assumption about all bill collectors and collection agencies is about as accurate as theirs is about every person in the U.S who owes a bill.
Threats usually work when persons have some leverage. Unfortunately, when that leverage does not exist, threats do not normally get satisfactory results. Actually, one shouldn’t resort to threats when the situation will get the desired results. If threats are to be used, it makes more sense to do a little homework and know the entire situation. Do not threaten to garnish wages when you’re told or know your hostage has no job or income. Know what is available to be held for ransom. Know your bargaining power. It is not likely to find a turnip plant that produces apples. So, where is the sense in bargaining with an unemployed, no income receiving, person who is in debt they cannot get out of and yet, you are demanding they pay you now! Adding to the threat that you will garnish their wages (which they don’t have) if they do not pay you. These are not persons who make millions of dollars who you see spending frivolously on a daily basis for luxurious homes, cars, clothes—and indulging in the finer fancy things in life while owing debts they refuse to pay. These people are the ones that have cash, capital, and other garnishable assets. But, no one goes after them.
Instead, the collectors pursue the hard-working class who struggle on a daily basis even when they were employed. But, they come upon hard times due to economic recessions or their plants closing and their jobs being shifted overseas or to Mexico—suddenly, the American dream they worked all their lives to achieve fades into the sunset. Now, they are faced with debts they can’t honor. The bills continue to stack up and one by one all the things they’ve worked for begin to disappear. They find themselves in positions never envisioned and no relief in sight. They begin to question their own existence, feeling worthless. Society begins to snub them. Systems (safety nets) they paid into for years, that are supposed to be available for persons in the positions they now find themselves in, turn them away or take them through so much “red tape”, they give up trying.
As if that isn’t enough to deal with, now the bill collectors—the cold, cruel, inconsiderate—are calling with harassing threats. Think about this. The person’s debt on their credit report, thus inhibiting them from doing anything—such as securing any financial assistance in the future toward retraining or additional training to better their situation or anything returning positive results that could help themselves as well as enable them to pay their debts .
Because most companies now use credit reports in making hiring decisions, the collectors in effect have made it impossible for the debt owers to be hired with those companies who use credit as a qualifying factor. They—the collectors--have stood in the way of any additional financial assistance eligibility for them to enroll in programs that can get them back to work. So why is it that they continue to call? Why is it that they call to harass, insult and threaten, rather than to offer realistic solutions? Why is it that they call to make condescending remarks about a person’s character?
I sought answers to these questions and upon further research, I discovered information that says collectors are governed by the (FDCPA) Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Enforcement. And all of the above behaviors are subject to fines. In a nutshell, these collectors are not supposed to be allowed to display such disrespectful behaviors.
There is abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many debt collectors. Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.
The FDCPA was created in response to the abusive conduct often engaged in by collection agencies to insure that those debt collectors who refrain from using abusive debt collection practices are not competitively disadvantaged, and to promote consistent State action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses. So, if anyone has been or is subjected to these invasive practices, there is an avenue for relief.