One Michigan-based debt collector has allegedly been trying to collect debts from people who don't owe them, including one man who has been dead for years.
Kathy Garnet says Michigan-based Asset Acceptance has been calling her three to five times per day requesting an outstanding phone bill debt from her dead husband, ABC 7 reports.
But, Garnet's story is just one of hundreds of complaints about the company; Asset Acceptance is also facing a class action lawsuit alleging it inflated interest on debts dating back years. In addition, the company has a long rap sheet that includes hundreds of complaints to the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commision and the Michigan Attorney General, not to mention a $2.5 million settlement over suspected violations of debt collection and credit reporting laws, ABC 7 reports.
Still, Asset Acceptance's alleged tactics may not be all that out of the ordinary. Debt collectors are increasingly using lies, threats, insults and other abusive strategies to get debtors to pay up, according to a recent report from MarketData Enterprises.
Debt collection agencies have also seen a spike in business, which in part explain the increase in debt collector abuse. One in seven Americans have had their have encountered a debt collector, a number that’s doubled since 2000. Likewise, the debt collection industry was responsible for a record number of complaints to the FTC last year.
The use of debtors' prisons has also become increasingly common. Breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay, for example, was put in jail over a $280 medical bill that she didn’t even owe.
Indeed, health care debt is one area that collectors have pursued particularly aggressively. Currently, health care debt specialist Accretive Health is under federal inquiry for allegedly aggressively pursuing patients while they were still in the hospital.
See below for our round up of debt collector horror stories: