Have Past Due Debts? Be Thankful You Do Not Live in Russia

Posted on May 25, 2016 at 12:00pm by
Business setting

American consumers have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that protect against abusive debt collectors. In other parts of the world, past due borrowers lack basic consumer protections and are subjected to horrific abuse.

Russian debt collection tactics are the ultimate example of what can happen when basic consumer protections are ignored. Due to Russian economic problems, banks have made borrowing more difficult. As a result, people are forced to use the Russian equivalent of payday loans.

These loans are much more likely to go into default due to fees and super high interest rates. Defaulting on loans in Russia can lead to nightmarish consequences for borrowers. In Russia, collection agencies firebomb houses with Molotov cocktails, steal pets, send constant phone calls (to consumers, neighbors and employers), break bones, super glue doors shut and post the personal phone numbers of past due borrowers on prostitution websites.

American consumers are protected by several laws, one of which is the FDCPA, and could never face similar consequences for defaulting on debts.

Understanding Rights Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

American debt collectors are prohibited from certain actions, especially harassment and threats of violence. Past due borrowers can request not to be contacted at work, and must approve calls before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Debt collectors cannot lie to borrowers, such as pretending to be law enforcement. Threats of arrest or violence are off limits for debt collectors. Americans with excessive debt can also file for bankruptcy to temporarily stop debt collection activities.

Past due borrowers experiencing abuse can file complaints with state Attorney General offices, the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

If an American debt collection company firebombed homes, used violence, stole pets or superglued doors shut, they would be looking at criminal charges. So if you have past due bills, just remember, while debt collectors can still be annoying, at least you do not live in Russia.

The Kansas City bankruptcy attorneys at The Sader Law Firm can help borrowers who are struggling financially.