Ohio debt collection complaints are on the rise, says Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. The August 31, 2009 announcement comes on the heels of a National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) report naming debt collection as the top consumer complaint of 2008.
Cordray reports that his office received 2,067 ohio debt collection complaints in 2009 so far - almost double the number of complaints received just three years ago. He attributes today's economic stress as part of the cause, but points out that Ohioans' do not have to put up with illegal debt collection tactics.
In 2008, the Ohio Attorney General's Office received 2,446 debt collection complaints; 2,123 were received in 2007, and 1,699 were received in 2006. Earlier this year, Cordray filed a lawsuit against National Enterprise Systems, Inc., a collection agency based in Solon, Ohio, for routinely harassing consumers and using illegal practices to collect debts.
"A line must be drawn to keep debt collection from crossing over into harassment," Cordray said. "Consumers have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Overly aggressive tactics, such as making threats and repeated phone calls, are not allowed. Ohioans have enough financial worries without the added stress of harassing collection practices."
Cordray reminds consumers that they have the following rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Debt collectors may not:
Cordray says that consumers who believe a debt collector has violated
the FDCPA should file a complaint with Attorney General Cordray's office
at www.SpeakOutOhio.gov or (800) 282-0515.
We'll add that it's important to know your rights in the first place. Keep track of any contact from a collection agency using our free debt collection worksheet and take action immediately if you believe the collector has broken the law.