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The Government's New Targets: Debt Collectors & Credit Bureaus

If you are in a financial related business, there is a new sheriff in town; The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.  The criticism of this new agency is that it seems to be just another layer of bureaucracy regulating activities that are already regulated by existing government agencies. For example,  the Bureau has announced that its first two targets will be credit bureaus and debt collectors.  Both of these industries already fall under federal regulation from the Federal Trade Commission.  Additionally, they are regulated in each state  as well.  If you watch the video below you will see that the new Director of this agency, Richard Cordray, is unable to really explain what the purpose of this new agency is.  

Take a look at the video, I have never really seen anything like this before.  It almost sounds like they are still trying to figure out what exactly the agency will do and need your ideas to come up with something.  With a neighborly style borrowed from the likes of Andy Griffin and Fred Rogers, Cordray asks you to share your story with him through the new website.

 

I am all for consumer protection but I am also against government waste.  I would like someone to explain to me why we need yet another government agency when we are running trillion dollar deficits.  How will this agency be any more successful in regulating financial services than the already existing government agencies assigned to this task? If other agencies are not producing results, they should be shut down and replaced. This seems like the worst of both worlds to me.  

Shocking Video Below About Salaries At This New Agency

 

The New Diabolical Tactics Of Debt Collectors

While I don't agree that we need another government agency, I guess if we are going to have one I would agree that starting with debt collectors and credit bureaus is a good choice.  One of the most common issues I hear about through our website are problems that people are having with debt collection firms.  The biggest single issue is the harassing phone calls that even follow people to their workplace.  As a result, we have made available a simple letter that provides consumers with a means of stopping the phone calls - Cease Communication Letter.   I posted a video on YouTube three years ago on how to stop collection calls and it has had nearly 20,000 views!  It appears that this continues to be a hot topic. 

My best advice on what to do when you can't pay your bills. 

Debt Collectors Using Social Media To Embarrass You Online

I have seen several news articles recently outlining how debt collectors are using social media as a means to collect debts.  One story involved a company setting up a website with the domain name of the debtor (your name.com) and then posting information on the site about the unpaid debt. Whenever this person's name was searched for online, this page would come up in the top of the search results since the domain name contained their name.  Another tactic is to set up a fake Facebook account and then 'friend' you.  This allows them to track your activity and gather the latest information on where you work, a mobile number, a change of address, etc...

 

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act became law in 1978, long before the Internet, cell phones, and social media.  Debt collectors are facing the reality that old tactics simply don't work anymore due to caller ID and many homes that do not even have a landline.  Many are calling for an update to the law to address these issues.

Credit Bureaus - Pretty Much Up To The Same Old Tricks

Credit bureaus can make or break your finances and are making it exceedingly difficult for consumers to correct inaccuracies in their file. For example, I recently wrote to all three bureaus requesting my free annual credit report.  I provided my name, SS number, mailing address, date of birth, copy of my driver's license, and a copy of my Social Security card.  You would think that this was more than enough information but it was not.  Two of the three bureaus returned my letter asking for even more proof that it was me.  I have a hard time believing that this was a sincere request but was nothing more than a brush off.  How many people will put together all of that information a second time and send it in?  Some (as did I), but many will just give up on the project rather than send out a second set of letters.

How To Repair Your Credit

Please use the comments section below to share your own story (good or bad) about debt collection firms or the credit bureaus and what your thoughts are on adding this new agency.

Helping you make the most of God’s money!

James L. Paris
Editor-In-Chief ChristianMoney.com 
Follow Me on Twitter Twitter.com/jameslparis
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