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Consumer agency weighs in on collection industry with reforms

Many readers of our Ohio bankruptcy blog perhaps know a thing or two -- or, unfortunately, much more -- about the underside of the country's vast debt collection industry.

Their knowledge might come from the anecdotal imparting of adverse information supplied by family members, friends, business colleagues and other parties regarding the relentlessly harassing behaviors of industry actors to collect money.

Or, far worse, it could proceed from their personal experiences, highlighted by repeated phone calls to their home and workplace throughout the week, including in the evening and on weekends; ongoing threats of litigation and wage garnishment; behind-the-back contacts to friends, employers and other parties; and other collector actions that are border-line legal or flatly unlawful.

The debt collection industry in the United States "desperately needs" tougher laws governing it that ensure a higher level of accountability, stated Richard Cordray recently.

Cordray knows something about that. He is the chief of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has for several years been trying to rein in the egregious behaviors routinely engaged in by the industry's worst citizens.

The CFPB announced just last week that it is now prepared to move forward with tough new sanctions to curb the harassment and intimidation so often practiced upon consumer debtors. It has issued a series of new rules to do just that, which could be enacted into law following a required review period.

Reform is an obvious imperative, given the legions of consumer who must square off against hard-ball collection tactics while dealing with formidable debt challenges.

Any individual, family or business facing such a reality might reasonably want to contact a proven bankruptcy attorney for guidance and representation regarding a workable debt-relief strategy.

Notably, working with experienced legal counsel can do more than just identify viable options for regaining financial traction.

It can also go far toward silencing those hounding collectors.

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