Exploring the Debt Collection Industry

August 24, 2006

Inside/Outside View from the Blogmaster

Filed under: Collectors Chime In — budhibbs @ 10:51 am

I have a unique perspective to this industry as I deal with consumers and collectors daily.  Both are angry.

The collectors rise up in dozens of emails daily defending their position and their actions.  After all, Budhibbs.com is attacking their livelihood, and no doubt when a consumer on the phone mentions he saw a collector on the website and their reputation was less than stellar, it has to complicate the collector’s task.

Someone commented in this blog that if everyone held to the law, a Bud Hibbs wouldn’t exist.  That’s probably true.  The decent collectors – those ACA members who don’t abuse their positions, who follow the FDCPA and collect within the confines of the law rarely complain about Bud Hibbs or his website.

But for every law-abiding collection agency, there’s one which sprang up overnight – lured by easy money and the anonymity of the phone.  For them, the FDCPA is wasted paper; the FTC has no authority and the State’s Attorney General is too busy with legitimate crime to worry about phone harassment, misunderstandings and so on.  It’s these get-rich-quick outfits that have given the entire collection industry a black eye.

From this office, we see the laws broken, the suits filed and settled, the abuse, the lies and the efforts engaged to collect on 10-12 year old time-barred, out of statue debts.  Often, these are re-collection attempts on debts that have been paid.  It’s these monstrous agencies the Budhibbs.com site works to expose.

Much of what is written on the site is called hyperbole and exzaggeration; but much of it comes from the same collectors who six months earlier are cussing us out for making their job so difficult.  When they are fired or come to their senses, the first thing they do is contact us with the inside scoop.  The amount of information passing through here daily is staggering.  If what ultimately gets posted is so far out of line, why aren’t the collectors suing to have it taken down?  Their own documents don’t lie. (Well, actually, their own documents do lie, so they probably don’t want them brought up in court.)

In my experience, the collectors who scream the loudest are usually the ones who are most outside the law.  Our consumer emails run as high as 800 per day; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to match up complaints against violators.

Was it Frank who said “wield the sword, expect the sword to be used against you?”  Bud gets the sword swung his way more than you might imagine.  Ask any Buffalo (suspect) collector – and they’ll tell you Bud collected next to them as recently as 6 months ago.  Or that he ran up huge debt and had his life ruined by debt collectors, vowing to take vengance.  Or how about that DUI – Bud doesn’t drink, but there is a Bud Hibbs in south Texas with a violation.  Wiretapping?  Not quite. Read the documents and see who prevailed in that action. Not his real name?  Asked and answered now for over 30 years.

Bud has no problem with collectors that obey the law.  Debt buyers claim you owe the money.  Yes, but to whom?  Does that mere fact allow the law to be circumvented?

Debt buyers and agencies DO spring up overnight – it’s very lucrative.  And because three or four agencies may be working the same tired paper, the consumer is getting carpetbombed with little advice or help.  The Budhibbs.com site exists to provide a map to the hidden minefields.

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11 Comments

  1. Well said. I think there is a clear distinction between debt buyers and bill collectors

    Comment by Frank — August 24, 2006 @ 11:34 am

  2. Bud is a hero especially to the underserving receiving harrassing debt collections who owe no one.

    Bud… what is your take on the agencies that received the IRS contract?

    CBE Group Inc. of Waterloo, Iowa.; Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP of Austin, Texas; and Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc. of Arcade, N.Y., a unit of SLM Corp. (SLM), or Sallie Mae.

    Comment by APRPEH — August 24, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  3. Bud Hibbs’ site is indeed a map through the minefield. It’s a map I’ve relied on heavily in dealing with all kinds of collectors over the past few years. When a collector called up and told me she had the sheriff on the line and he was going to come right out and arrest me if I didn’t do as I was told right then and there, it was very helpful to find on Bud’s site that this was a known tactic of theirs. When a collector called me at work repeatedly despite a cease and desist, and screamed at me to take my kid and drive off a cliff to end both our “worthless lives” so he could collect from my life insurance (which I didn’t even have, LOL!) I sure was glad Bud had the info handy on the jerk’s real name and address.

    I’ve dealt with Midland, NCO, Credigy, Stewart & Ass’s, Great Seneca, Wolpoff & Abramson, Riddle, Tate & Kirlin, Redline, Cambece, CACV/CACH, Academy, Westmoreland, Unifund, OSI, Northshore, Scott Lowery, and several incarnations of Lenahan over the past 5 years. The only one on that list who didn’t violate the FDCPA and/or my state debt collection laws in some way with me was Tate & Kirlin. They just threw me back to their junk debt buyer employer as soon as I sent them a letter, and the JDB sent another collector after me to rinse, lather, and repeat. All of this for debts incurred by my EX, which I couldn’t possibly pay even if I’d been legally obligated to. None of them would or could validate the supposed debt. They were much too busy making illegal threats and prohibited phone calls.

    I think the biggest benefit many of us have gotten from Bud’s site is the support and encouragement of seeing that we’re NOT alone in this sad, ugly war. Bud stirs people to get on their feet and FIGHT when they’re being wronged. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need most. IF Bud exaggerates sometimes, I believe he does so to make a point and to shake people out of their confusion and hopelessness. But I would never dismiss his comments as pure hyperbole or total exaggerations because I’ve had some of the experiences he’s talked about with various collectors myself.

    Comment by JAN — August 24, 2006 @ 2:38 pm

  4. Bud’s website was the first site I found when I fell into hardship and the collectors started calling. I cannot express how relieved I was when I read what was happening to me was not legal. I was able to put a stop to the harassment. Collectors make it almost impossible to pay even if you want to. I offered to pay $200.00 per month on my full balance $3200.00, but that wasn’t good enough, so I was brow beaten every time I answered the phone. So, I figure, sue me, and if you win…enjoy the $40.00 per month garnishment. That’s only if I don’t find the will to counter sue for FDCPA violations….Thanks, Bud!

    Comment by Becca — August 24, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

  5. Jan, Becca;
    Reading your postings make me realize how lucky I have been all those years. I have experienced some setbacks – who hasn’t? – but nothing that compares to what you two have gone through and survived thanks to the moral support provided by just one guy.
    I am still somewhat ambivalent about “Bud Hibbs” but, the more I read about the impact he has had on people in dire need, the more I lean towards giving him the benefit of the doubt.
    Keep’em cards and letters comin’ now, You hear.

    Comment by Mytwocentsworth — August 24, 2006 @ 10:15 pm

  6. My father died about a year ago and I moved in with my mother to take care of her as she battled cancer. Six months later I was hit with a summons by a collection agency claiming I was my mother’s husband and that we owed over $30,000 to them for a credit card charged off 7 years ago that neither of my parents had ever had.

    I had no idea what was going on. I tried to talk to the collector about it, and he told me either pay it or they’d get a judgment against me and seize the house. I told him that would be hard to do since we don’t owe the debt and don’t even own the house. He screamed at me that I was a liar and a thief, and he said he’d take my car, my mom’s jewelry, the TV set, and everything else he could lay his hands on but one way or another he was going to get “his” $30,000.

    I went online, and fortunately found Bud Hibbs.

    With a little help from Bud I soon learned that my mom had been a victim of identity theft, and this “debt” was being collected by a big company that pays a few pennies on face value for the right to collect. Actually it turned out the “original debt” was about $8,000 – it had been fluffed up with “interest” for several years before they tried to sue.

    Once I understood the situation, I found a local lawyer and ended up suing the collector. There’s a NDA so I can’t say who it was, but I can say they ended up paying us more than that grossly inflated debt that wasn’t even ours.

    Bud, thanks again for what you’re doing. You helped us more than you’ll ever know. My mom just passed last week. But at least she spent her last few weeks free of the nightmare this brought into her life.

    Ron

    Comment by Ron — August 24, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

  7. Check this out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14503387/ There’s a video segment in there for those who want it. Sounds like some of the phone calls I used to get.

    Comment by JAN — August 25, 2006 @ 12:34 am

  8. Since JAN mentioned them, what has happened to Bud’s site on Credigy? I thought they were one of the worst bottom feeders out there, yet his site about them has been taken down, and they’re no longer listed on his Top Ten list. What’s the deal? Are they still in business? Have they bought their freedom from Bud Hibbs?

    Comment by John — August 25, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

  9. Thanks for posting that news story, Jan. That is exactly the way the collector talked to me.

    And thanks to the Blogmaster for all your efforts here. I’m still cleaning up identity theft problems and probably will be for awhile. I really appreciate those of you who’ve made it a little easier with some kind guidance and the occasional kick in the rear to get motivated and deal with it.

    Ron

    Comment by Ron — August 25, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  10. The blog is a nice addition. My wife and I wanted to add our thanks to Bud for helping us figure out how to stop a collection agency that was harassing her elderly Navajo aunt. The collector called at all hours and told the aunt that the FBI would come out and arrest her because she refused to pay for cell phone charges when she never had a cell phone in her life. Every time she would hang up he would call right back and scream at her that she was a STUPID INDIAN B*TCH WHO WAS GOING TO JAIL. She didn’t know what to do and was afraid to even answer her phone. No caller ID. It was bad. Thank you to Bud for helping us help her.

    Comment by Jason — August 25, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

  11. I think one problem with collectors, is the people that they hire have limited communications skills. I’m speaking of those raised in America, where English is their first language. They come off as semi-literate street kids, who have attempted to solve most interpersonal problems in their life, through verbal intimidation and threats of violence. The position of debt collector, is a natural extension of their personality. I truly believe the industry seeks out these types in their hiring practices.

    Comment by Brent — August 26, 2006 @ 12:37 am


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