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Ask Doctor Debt

October 21, 2010

Many consumers are confused as to why debt collectors behave as they do. Not a surprise. While there are debt collectors who do not follow the laws and regulations or operate too much in the grey area, most consumers are actually confused and frustrated about the laws that were actually enacted to protect the consumer. To say this is frustrating to collection agencies is a massive understatement. We are actually being accused of being a “scam” because of the laws the government felt were necessary to protect the consumer!

One small example of this is the process that agencies must go through to verify that they are speaking to the correct responsible party about the debt in question. The two primary methods to verify identity are the social security number (or just the last 4 digits) and/or the date of birth. You can image how consumers react when they get a call from someone they do not know asking them to verify the last 4 of their social security number. A lot of consumers think it is a scam. The agency cannot discuss the reason for our call, or even who they are and what they do without verification that they are speaking to the right party. So in the end, the agency can’t discuss the debt and the consumer thinks it’s a scam. This is yet another example of the unintended consequences of obtuse government regulation.

A wonderful website produced by the ACA (Association of Credit and Collection Professionals) is ask doctor debt. This website is a great way for consumers to ask questions regard the ever complex web of state and federal laws governing the debt collection industry. We recommend that you keep this website handy and refer confused consumers to this site to get their questions answered correctly. As we all know there is a lot of misinformation on the web, so it is good to have a site that can be trusted to provide accurate information. The website address is

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