"Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration: A Roundtable Discussion" - August 5 and 6, 2009 #542930-00001

Submission Number:
Michael Whealen
Initiative Name:
"Protecting Consumers in Debt Collection Litigation and Arbitration: A Roundtable Discussion" - August 5 and 6, 2009
Debt Collection Roundtable – Comment, Project No. P094806. I got my mail this morning (6/26/2009) and opened a business envelope addressed to me. It was from a collection in California and indicated that I ":owed": $188.79 and because it was past due, I was contacted. ARM (Collection Agency) further stated that I could be reported to the Credit Bureau, if I refused to pay up. There was no itemization of products bought, services received, partial payment, previous purchases........ I received nothing more specific that an payment demand and threat. There was a phone, listing 8 to 5 hours of operation. I called several times, nothing but an answering machine. No specific individual to call, All may be fine and good, but I am a retiree, on a pension (that is fixed) and until now have always had excellent credit. Now it is being ruined for a reason that I do not understand. Could you please see if the persons or entities making these threats can be made available for some dialog prior to having a person's credit ruined or family unnecessarily upset? I have contacted both my state's AG and also the CA AG, but frankly, I am just a little guy and my situation is not even a data point on the scale. The average person does not have the resources to even try to get clarification from these businesses. Perhaps if the following items were implemented, the collection agencies might resolve disputes much faster. #1. A very specific and easily understandable description of the claim: type of product or service, person taking the responsibility, previous correspondence or discussion. #2. My limited experience shows me that a calm factual discussion can resolve the majority of disputes. That is, not only provide a phone number that is staffed with someone, either familiar with the dispute or provide good case history. #3. Since the interest accrues 24 hours a day, alleged debtors should have access to the agencies on a 24 X 7 basis also. #4. Provide an email address instead of a scripted form that cannot be copied for the benefit of the individual. Thanks for the opportunity to express my thoughts and please forgive my spelling errors and typo's Mike