The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the number of complaints against debt collectors has experienced a spike since the 2008.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that the number of complaints about debt collectors rose from 104,766 a year in 2008 to 140,036 in 2010, says Tom Pahl, assistant director of the FTC's division of financial practices.
And one of those complaints, which involved an elderly woman living on a fixed income, was absolutely horrendous but indicative of the type of environment most American debtors are facing as unemployment hovers at 9 percent.
"They tortured me is what they did. It got to the point I dreaded answering the phone," says Sowell, 72, of San Augustine, Texas, a former waitress who raised five children. As a young woman, she lost a leg in a car accident and now lives on a $694-a-month disability check. "The worst thing they said was, 'You're just a deadbeat. How would you like Garner & Son to go to his grave and dig up his body and bring it to you at your house.' "
It's unfortunate that this debtor didn't know her rights. No one has to tolerate demeaning and dehumanizing treatment from debt collectors. Debtors have the right to stop creditor harassment and they can refuse to talk to debt collectors especially if those conversations are nonproductive. And what can be more nonproductive than verbally harassing and threatening an elderly woman? Did these debt collectors really think they would extract payment in this way? The good news is that the debt collection company is facing a huge fine and monitoring by the FTC.