...that you might have to visit bugmenot.com to get to.
Both are from the Washington Post, a paper which seems determined to keep me from actually getting to any of their content without first telling them my shoe size.
The first story, As Collectors Multiply, So Do Consumer Complaints, exposes a host of abusive practices by "a new breed of debt collectors."
They're talking about junk debt buyers (JDBs), a class of bottom-feeders who buy uncollectable debts for a fraction of their worth and harrass debtors into paying.
The worst of these was CAMCO, a now shut-down debt collection firm who broke as many laws as they could in the process of collecting debts, sometimes from people who never owed the money in the first place.
This is actually old news in the industry; we've been on to JDBs for a while now, and we've blogged about them a few times before. But everyone needs to be aware of their rights when it comes to dealing with third-party debt collectors. (More on this from the Post.)
And as a matter of debt recovery, if you're contacted by a collector about a debt that you actually wish to repay, consider seeking a debt settlement. If it's gone to collections, the damage will already have been done to your credit report, and since collectors only pay pennies on the dollar for debts, they should be receptive to the idea of a settlement.
And in related news, the FTC has won a 10 million dollar judgement against debt collector National Check Control(NCC). It's a huge shot across the bow of the collections industry, particularly the new breed of debt buyers.
Add this to the ever-increasing list of reasons to not get into debt in the first place; someday, you may have to deal with firms like NCC.