Are zombie debt collectors really so bad?


With credit defaults on the rise, more and more Americans are getting calls from debt collectors. Some of these are "zombie debt" collectors -- enterprising businesses that buy delinquent debt from banks for as little as 3 cents on the dollar and then work the phones to try to collect as much as they can. Our own Tom Barlow wrote about this business yesterday.

I understand why these folks get a bad rap -- there's something distasteful about trying to make money calling people who have fallen on hard times.

But here's the thing: these people owe the money and, when they borrowed it, they entered into an agreement to pay it back. I don't think a debt collector is any more distasteful than a deadbeat.

Of course, some of these debt collectors can be pretty harsh. A CNN piece from this morning reports on rogue debt collectors, who "go over the line, threatening to have the person arrested, making improper bank withdrawals, intimidating people and making harassing phone calls."

The FTC has received more complaints about debt collectors than any other industry for the past 3 years.

But rogue debt collectors aside, is there anything lamer than complaining to the government that someone wants you to pay back money you owe?