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Facebook debt collection may suggest need for debt relief

South Carolina residents who are behind on their financial obligations are all-too-familiar with the collection tactics employed by debt collection agencies. Standard practices include aggressive phone calls and a wide variety of mail, ranging from offers to pay a reduced amount to satisfy a debt to threats of legal action. However, many consumers in need of debt relief are experiencing a new form of collection attempts: the use of social media sites such as Facebook to track down and communicate with debtors.

Many feel that collections efforts have simply one too far when collectors are tapping into social media to try to secure payment for outstanding accounts. This is especially so, considering the fact that many of these companies are trying to collect more than just the simple balance owed on a given account and are adding fees and fines that more than double the original debt. Federal regulators agree, and are currently researching the issue in hopes of presenting new regulations in 2013.

The problem is more widespread than many believe. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has released statistics that state that as many as one in every 10 U.S. consumers has at least one account in collections, with an average balance of $1,500. At that level, the actions of those within the debt collection industry have a wide reach over American society, and do not just inconvenience a select few.

For some South Carolina borrowers, receiving messages from debt collectors on Facebook is only one indicator that things have reached a breaking point. Once collections have become this aggressive, it may be time to take a serious look at one's overall financial picture, and decide if it is time to pursue effective debt relief solutions. For many, the answer lies in personal bankruptcy, which can lead to not only the discharge of a great deal of consumer debt, but will also end collection efforts, including contact through Facebook.

Source: The Buffalo News, "Debt collectors are going after people on social media," Carter Dougherty, Jan. 28, 2013

1 Comment

I've spent more than a decade in the collections (default servicing) world and would agree that this is a case where the laws need to catch up with the technology.

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