Few people are more reviled in the over-leveraged United States than debt collectors. They'll talk all kinds of shit to you on the phone about credit card bills, or student loans that you one day decided to stop paying (but eventually started paying again to clear your guilty conscience and to be a good person), sure, but they're also victims of verbal abuse and stupid laws and they're just not gonna take it anymore.
The president of debt collector trade union ACA International, Mark Neeb, told the New York Times that the majority of debt collectors are the "salt of the earth." And now they're going on a charm offensive to prove that all debt collectors aren't heartless, foul-mouthed scumbags. To do this, ACA International created a warm and fuzzy-looking website, Ask Doctor Debt, where deadbeats can look through frequently asked questions ("What is disposable income?") or to find out what a "Mini-Miranda" is and just how hard they're going to get screwed. Fun — and so informative!
But even more than trying to get people to be nice to its members, ACA International is concerned about the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and whether or not they'll soon have new ways to harass people:
Foremost on the debt collectors' agenda is updating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was passed in 1977, the era of letters and landlines, and has not been changed much since. ACA International, based here in suburban Minneapolis, wants its members to have the ability to contact debtors using modern technology, including e-mail, cellphones and autodialers, all of which create problems under the current rules.
[Image via Shutterstock]