Many retirees in Kentucky are harassed by debt collectors

For many elderly people in Kentucky and throughout the country, debt collection activities are a source of anxiety and stress. According to a recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, approximately one out of every three complaints reported to this agency is made by a senior about debt collection. Many of these complaints are related to medical debts currently being disputed and illegal threats about Social Security and other federal benefits.

The effects of creditor harassment on seniors

According to NBC, when debt collectors harass seniors, some experience unneeded stress, fear and an exacerbation of health problems. Some retirees end up paying off their debts just to put an end to the phone calls, even if they do not believe that they actually owe the money.

For example, one elderly man who lives in the Seattle area made arrangements with two of his credit card companies to make payments on a schedule he could afford after losing his job. While this arrangement worked for a while, his account was later turned over to collection and he received as many as four calls every day from debt collectors. Many of these calls would come very early in the morning or late at night and those he spoke with would tell him that they would garnish his Social Security payments or threaten him with arrest. As a result, the man was afraid to answer his phone and the anxiety he experienced because of these phone calls eventually impacted his everyday life.

Prohibited practices for debt collectors

The Federal Trade Commission states that debt collectors are prohibited from making certain statements and engaging in certain practices. For example debt collectors are not allowed to:

  • Falsely claim that they are a representative of the government or an attorney
  • State that the person they are speaking to will be arrested if he or she does not pay his or her debt
  • Misrepresent the amount of debt owed
  • Say that they will garnish wages or seize property unless they are legally permitted and intend to do so
  • Use profane language, repeatedly use phone calls to annoy a debtor and use threats of violence or harm

Additionally, debt collectors are not permitted to use a fake company name, send false documents from a court or government agency and give untrue information about a debtor to anyone.

Bankruptcy may be a viable solution

Those in Kentucky who are repeatedly harassed by debt collectors may find that declaring consumer bankruptcy provides them with relief from their debts and these phone calls. If you are overwhelmed by credit card, medical or another type of debt, speak with an attorney to find out if bankruptcy is the right choice for your personal situation.