Debt collection has become a big business, with 30 million Americans (14.6 percent) having at least one debt in collection. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, older Americans complain most about debt collection. The types of complaints range from the lack of information about the debts being collected, to attempts to collect debts from the wrong person, to misleading and coercive letters.
Debt collection represents about one-third of the complaints (34 percent) received by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from older adults. Mortgages represent almost one-fourth of complaints (23 percent).
About half of older Americans are incensed by ongoing attempts to collect a debt that they do not owe. Often they have the same name as the person who owes the debt, and they struggle to get the collection agency to understand that and stop pursuing them. Medical debt is a big source of complaints. Often insurers are responsible for the bill, but the collection agency still goes after the older adult for the funds. And, this can affect the credit reports of older Americans, who often are not aware that their account has been put in collection.
If a collection agency is going after you for a debt that you do not owe, report the agency to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can file a complaint online. The agency will follow up on your behalf.