Jessica Silver-Greenberg has a terrific article on a terrible practice where District Attorneys have loaned out their letterhead and authority to debt collectors to target consumers who supposedly have written bad checks.
Read the entire article if the introduction interests you (as it should). Jessica writes:
The letters are sent by the thousands to people across the country who have written bad checks, threatening them with jail if they do not pay up.
They bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s office. But there is a catch: the letters are from debt-collection companies, which the prosecutors allow to use their letterhead. In return, the companies try to collect not only the unpaid check, but also high fees from debtors for a class on budgeting and financial responsibility, some of which goes back to the district attorneys’ offices.
The problem is that even if there is some legitimacy to this practice (which I doubt), many debt collectors get drunk on power and the thought of having the “club” or “stick” of the DA’s office behind them is too much.
It is similar to what debt collectors who collect on Federal student loans do — they see the enormous collection powers and threats they have but go beyond this to make illegal threats against consumers in Alabama and elsewhere.
Regardless of what the debt collector is collecting, the debt collector must stay within the rules of the law. When an abusive collector goes outside the law, there are consequences.
If you live in Alabama and have questions about what a debt collector is collecting or how the debt collector is collecting, feel free to contact us by phone at 205-879-2447 or through our website.
You can also get our free book on stopping abusive debt collectors.