Debt collectors using aggressive tactics to pursue payments

When Betty Perez bought new bedroom furniture for her children earlier this year, she never dreamed that being a few days late on her payments would result in a collection agency barricading her front door and threatening to call the police.

Perez is just one of an untold numbers of consumers, many of them struggling to make ends meet in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, who are facing increasingly aggressive tactics by debt collectors determined to do whatever it takes to make people pay up.

Allied Interstate, for example, was recently fined $1.75 million by the Federal Trade Commission for using abusive language, calling people many times a day for weeks or months and threatening legal action against consumers who didn't even owe the debt in question.