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Study finds harassment by debt collectors is prevalent

Kentucky residents who are struggling to pay their bills might feel stress about making payments and do not need any extra worries when it comes to making ends meet. However, those who are having financial problems might face more difficulty in the form of pushy debt collectors. One report suggests that some collection agencies overstep their bounds when dealing with those who owe money.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a report on Jan. 12 after sending out more than 10,800 surveys in 2014 and 2015. The consumer watchdog group received about 2,000 responses, and the results show that more than one in four consumers felt threatened after their last encounter with a debt collector. Once a consumer makes a written request that an agency cease calling, debt collectors are legally supposed to oblige. Of the approximately 40 percent of those surveyed who said that they made a request, about 75 percent of them still continued to get calls.

This is especially troubling when considering that 40 percent of callers said they got four or more calls a week. One in three people reported that calls came at any time even though debt collectors are not actually allowed to call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. New rules proposed in July 2016 may be able to effectively limit contact with consumers, and an easy dispute resolution is also part of the proposal. Additionally, agencies would be required to have accurate information about the debt they are trying to collect.

Those who are having trouble with debt might have several possible options available, and they may want to consult with an attorney who can offer advice tailored to their specific situation. Debt consolidation or filing for bankruptcy might be two of the appropriate alternatives.

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