Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices: Know Your Rights and Protect Yourself from Threats, Lies, and Intimidation

Overview

This year, America’s enormous, poorly regulated debt collection industry will make more than 1,000,000,000 collection calls. They will threaten. They will lie and mislead. They will intimidate. Over the past five years, they’ve racked up more than 300,000 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission: more than any other industry regulated by the FTC. Financial reporter Fred Williams knows more about the industry than anyone else. Not only has investigated America’s debt collection agencies, he spent three months ...

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Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices

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Overview

This year, America’s enormous, poorly regulated debt collection industry will make more than 1,000,000,000 collection calls. They will threaten. They will lie and mislead. They will intimidate. Over the past five years, they’ve racked up more than 300,000 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission: more than any other industry regulated by the FTC. Financial reporter Fred Williams knows more about the industry than anyone else. Not only has investigated America’s debt collection agencies, he spent three months working for one of the largest firms in the business. In Fight Back Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices Williams reveals what he learned and shows you exactly how to fight back and protect your rights. Williams weaves indispensable practical advice together with stories straight from his collection agency cubicle. You’ll learn what to do first if a collector calls; what collectors can and can’t do; which debts you are and aren’t responsible for; how collectors choose accounts to focus on; how to stop harassing or abusive calls; how to keep the advantage in a negotiation for a lucrative debt settlement; even how to take the offensive with a lawsuit that can halt collection and win yourself a $1,000 penalty!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137058303
  • Publisher: FT Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Pages: 207
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

A business journalist for most of the past 24 years, Fred Williams has written about debt collection for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and for The Buffalo (N.Y.) News, where he started covering the industry in 1999. He undertook a six-month research project on the industry in 2006, supported by the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism at The Ohio State University.

In 2008, he worked as a debt collector for 11 weeks at a collection agency near Buffalo.

Fred graduated from Binghamton University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is careful to pay his entire credit card balance each month.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1: Debt Collection Secrets 9

Chapter 1: Lessons in Deception 11

Chapter 2: Credit Is King 23

Chapter 3: Anger Can Be Power 31

Chapter 4: Closeout: “No Tomorrow” 41

Chapter 5: The Shakedown Industry 47

Chapter 6: PIF Means Payment in Full 61

Chapter 7: Payday, the Tables Turn 69

Chapter 8: Debtors’ Rebellion 73

Chapter 9: Debt for Sale 83

Chapter 10: The Golden Rule: Money Today 89

Chapter 11: Strengths and Weaknesses 93

Chapter 12: Collector of the Week 103

Chapter 13: Retention 111

Chapter 14: A Complaint 115

Chapter 15: Data Minefield 121

Chapter 16: Graduation Day 127

Chapter 17: On the Floor 133

Chapter 18: NLE Means No Longer Employed 145

Chapter 19: Solutions 157

Part 2: Coping With Collections 161

Chapter 20: Stopping Collection Calls 163

Chapter 21: Checking Out a Collector 167

Chapter 22: Using Collection Law 171

Chapter 23: Reading Your Credit Reports 177

Chapter 24: Preparing a Complaint 183

Chapter 25: Negotiating a Debt Settlement 189

Endnotes 195

Index 201

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Combination expose and how-to for people dealing with debt collectors

    The author worked for three months inside a collection agency. The story of that experience makes up Part 1 of the book. Part 2 contains advice for consumers. It explains the legal restrictions on collectors and how consumers can use the law to protect themselves from harassment, tricks and unfair treatment. The two parts of the book are supposed to work together. The inside look at a collection agency is supposed to provide insight about how collectors think and operate in real-world situations. It also provides a framework for a look at what the author, a financial journalist, thinks is wrong with the industry. In his view, low penalties and a lack of enforcement have allowed hardball tactics to flourish. He makes a case that the current environment forces agencies to cross the line, just to remain competitive. The regulatory vacuum means that it is up to consumers themselves to guard against shakedown tactics.

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