Some 30 million Americans have at least one debt in collection. Bewared of debt collectors. In Last Week Tonight, John Oliver explains how easy it can be for people to set up companies that buy debt for collection from banks and other lending institutions; it also can be easy for lending institutions to sell debt without being held accountable for any errors they make regarding the debt. Know your rights!
Last year, 280,000 consumers filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission against debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you. If you’re interested in learning what is and what isn’t permissible conduct for debt collectors, the FTC answers your questions here.
In some cases, people are preyed upon by a debt collector who has paid pennies on the dollar from a bank for the names, social security numbers and addresses of people the bank claims to be debtors. Some debts are “zombie” debts–no longer valid. They have been forgiven or the statute of limitations has passed for collecting them. But, people can be sued nonetheless. And, if the debt collector wins, it might be able to garnish people’s wages.
Here are some tips from Just Care for avoiding medical debt. For older adults, debt collection is a serious concern.
Watch John Oliver here: