Debt collection for the digital age

Magnifying glass enlarging the word debt

If the Association of Credit and Collections Professionals gets its way, how debt collectors contact consumers could change.

In other words, debt collection via text message might be coming soon to your cell phone.

The organization is seeking changes to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that would allow its members to expand the ways they can contact people from whom they are trying to collect.

The group wants to be able to legally call cell phones and send emails to its targets.

But as anyone on the receiving end of debt collection actions can attest, these folks have some serious commitment to their jobs.

Sometimes too serious.

While tracking down debtors and trying to collect on delinquent accounts isn't easy, the laws in place are there for a reason. And making this job easier could open up new avenues for harassment.

As Billy Howard, head of the consumer protection department for the law firm Morgan & Morgan told ABC News: "(The trade group members) want the right to bombard people with emails and auto-dialers, and we have a law in place right now to protect consumers against that type of conduct. The laws should not be expanded to give these guys greater protection."

These laws are in place to protect the consumer from harassment and other unsavory collection methods.

In fact, many collection agencies still use aggressive and often illegal strategies to collect debt, despite the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other legislation in place prohibiting such actions.

As I wrote about earlier, complaints against debt collectors are on the rise.

If you are being harassed by a debt collector, it is important to know your rights as a consumer.

Start by reviewing the 10 things debt collectors can't do.

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