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Federal agency targets debt collection firm for unfair tactics

Being hounded by a debt collector can be a very confusing and intimidating experience. A person who is having trouble keeping up with his or her bills may feel powerless in this situation. Fortunately, however, consumers have rights when they are in debt and there are ways to effectively find debt relief and end creditor harassment.

The reality is that debt collectors don't always play by the rules, which can put many people in a precarious position. Not long ago, the Federal Trade Commission took action against a debt collection agency that was intentionally deceiving many people, which resulted in a $1 million settlement. The hope is that this will help make debt collection fairer for consumers.

In this particular case, one man was operating two debt collection companies that had deceptive names and went after people who speak Spanish. National Attorney Services and National Attorney Collection Services, the collection firms, repeatedly sent letters and text messages saying that people would be jailed for failing to pay back creditors. Despite the name, no lawyers actually worked for the companies.

The FTC cited the companies for violating a whole host of regulations. Most importantly, the companies didn't indicate they were debt collectors and didn't leave individuals with the option to dispute their debts. Furthermore, people cannot be imprisoned for having debt. By withholding information and spreading falsehoods, the collection companies had the power to hurt many people.

Whenever Waco residents run into financial difficulty -- or receive collection calls -- it may be helpful to contact an attorney who can provide accurate information and workable solutions. Consumers deserve to be treated fairly and there are ways to help level the playing field.

Source: The Washington Post, "FTC hits debt collector with $1 million fine for sending threatening texts to Spanish speakers," Cecilia Kang, Sept. 25, 2013

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