30 Million Americans Dealing with Debt Collection Industry

This video is from a March 2009 Dateline NBC segment on the dirty tactics used by debt collection agencies in the United States. While the segment is more than three years old, little has changed in that time. If anything, the problem has only grown worse.

On August 20, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that debt collection has become a $12 billion a year industry with an estimated 30 million Americans dealing with debt collectors this year. According to the Times, that is a nearly 50 percent increase since 2003.

One person the Times article featured was Piqua, Ohio, resident Katie Brown. She told the Times that she received a call about her unpaid $3,000 credit card bill from Hhgregg Inc. The person claimed that he was from a free legal aid service that Brown had contacted to try to end harassing phone calls from debt collectors.

"After I told him everything, he laughed and said, 'Now let me tell you who I am. I hold your debt from Hhgregg,'" Brown told the Times. "I was scared they would get to my husband’s work and start calling them, because at this point they would stop at nothing if they were going to misrepresent themselves."

As the Times article noted, more people have increasingly fallen behind on their bills for credit card debt, student loans and other expenses in the Great Recession. If you are also facing harassing calls from debt collectors, the good news is that filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will trigger an automatic stay that requires most debt collectors to stop all collection efforts against you until the bankruptcy is over.

If you would like to learn more about filing bankruptcy and receiving an automatic stay, you can use the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case or you can contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 to schedule a free consultation.

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