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CFPB report reveals violations of debt collection rules

Receiving calls from debt collectors is a part of daily life for many Ohio residents, but a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reveals that many of the companies behind these calls routinely ignore federal regulations and subject consumers to tactics that border on harassment or abuse. The federal agency, which released its report on Jan. 12, based its findings on more than 2,000 survey responses received from American consumers in 2014 and 2015.

Debt collection companies are required to stop making calls when consumers ask them to do so in writing, but the CFPB report indicates that only about one in four debt collectors take these requests seriously. Federal rules also prohibit early morning and late night calls, but 40 percent of the survey respondents said they received calls from debt collectors either before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.

According to the CFPB report, debt collectors call the wrong person or have inaccurate figures more than half of the time, and about 40 percent of the survey respondents said that they routinely received four or more calls each week. The report suggest strengthening regulations by placing a weekly limit on debt collection calls and requiring debt collectors to wait at least 30 days before calling the family members of a deceased debtor.

The desire to putt an abrupt end to creditor harassment may be what prompts many people to take action and file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the chief benefit of pursuing debt relief may be the fresh financial start that it makes possible. Attorneys with experience in these matters could explain how rebuilding credit may be less challenging when payments are more manageable and the stresses of an unsustainable financial situation are removed. They could also explain how personal bankruptcy differs from debt settlement and negotiation plans.

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