“Older Americans deserve to be treated with the respect they have earned.”
Although most people would readily agree with that statement recently offered by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray, the reality for many American seniors is that their contacts with one select group of people are sadly lacking in conferred respect
Rather, they are centrally marked by seniors’ frustrations and fears engendered by third-party demands and threats.
The source of such consternation for many older Americans is the nation’s debt collection industry, specifically actors within it whose contacts with elder consumers are routinely discourteous, demeaning and outright harassing.
A recent CFPB analysis on consumer debt and debt collectors underscores just how serious the nation’s problem is with the aggressive and sometimes unlawful behaviors of certain collection companies and individuals. Cordray notes that senior citizens especially bear the brunt of over-the-top collection activities that transcend legality.
This is troubling for several reasons. For starters, many seniors continue to struggle with debt during years in which they no longer work and have a continuing employment income stream. Second, they are on fixed incomes at a time when they are increasingly confronting medical problems and related expenses.
And medical debt can very quickly become complicated. Many seniors say they struggle with harassing collectors at the same time that they are duly trying to sort through billing statements and waiting for insurers to responsibly attend to their contractual duties.
Stories concerning efforts to collect upon already resolved bills are legion, as are tales relating collectors’ attempts to recover money from deceased family members, pursue obligations beyond probate cut-off periods, and garnish state and federal benefits that are exempt from creditors.
There are a number of steps a beleaguered consumer — of advanced age or otherwise — in Texas or elsewhere can take to deal with a harassing debt collector. In many instances, a purposeful first step is contacting a proven debt relief attorney commanding a deep well of experience dealing with collection agencies and actors.