MarketWatch is playing with my world view.

MarketWatch is an online news outlet that is almost entirely finance based. In fact, its logo includes the words, “From DowJones”. Its headlines are usually things like, “Analysts bullish on REIT stocks after recent pullback”. So, I’ve always considered it an arm of big finance and bigger business. Yesterday evening, on my MarketWatch RSS feed came the headline, “How to Handle a Debt Collector”. I took another drink of my wine and checked that one again.

Yep, MarketWatch ran an article that included things like:

Have you convinced a debt collector to stop calling? It likely won’t be the end. You may hear from several collectors down the road, thanks to “debt buyers,” which have been springing up since 1989, when creditors began selling debt.

Even more interesting,

Of particular concern: The large number of FTC complaints — 14,700 — that allege debt collectors are harrassing consumers, often by calling them continuously. Also, some 8,000 debt collectors in 2006 were said to have used profane or abusinve language.


The FTC also alleges that debt collectors who obtain authorization to do automatic debts from checking accounts sometimes take more than the amount authorized. Some have even given debtors an incorrect address so letters disputing debts won’t be received. That’s almost clever, actually.

I’d really like to be shocked — but I’m not.

I am a little surprised, though, at the source of the story. I also found it interesting that the FTC is holding a debt collection workshop this October (is that some kind of hands-on how-to session?) which could influence the FTC’s annual report to Congress. (An FTC sponsored debt collection workshop?)

The article also quotes some facts about the collection and repurchase industry that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those of us who work with debt. Debt repurchasers are paying on average 5.3 cents on the dollar for debt. The older the debt the more expensive to collect. Debt collectors have access to data bases that can track you down when you move — as one third of the population does each year. Oh, and those old stand-bys –interest never stops accruing and that is before adding collection fees and attorneys fees. So, the older it gets — the bigger it gets.

I am starting to wonder about my life when I am more surprised by the source of this article than its contents.


1 thought on “MarketWatch is playing with my world view.

  1. Ann MacDonald

    I found your article/blog very enlightening. Thank you for the
    info about debt repurchasers. I am surprised that they were allowed
    to go into the business of buying up old debts in the first place.
    It is EXTORTION, as loan sharks charge exorbant “FEES” to people
    that are desperate. I would think that what “DEBT REPURCHASERS” do is against the law, as they buy up old debts for pennies on the dollar then charge interest and other fees to the person they are trying to collect the debt from. That goes to say if they have the
    right person in the first place. Also, they undermine state and
    federal laws, as each state has a statute of limitations in regard
    to unpaid debts. I am also deeply disturbed by the fact that all
    three collection agencies sell confidential information from
    everyone’s credit reports to anyone who wants it, yet refuse to
    honor consumer requests for privacy, as to who can see their credit
    reports and who cannot. All three credit agencies are a joke and
    should be put out of business. The government needs to step in, and
    start taking action, by controlling the credit bureaus and how
    they conduct business. That is, debt repurchasers and collectors
    do not need to have access to anyone’s credit reports and they
    should not be allowed to make entries on them either. Most of
    these companies are bogus and shady and I wouldn’t let them have
    access to my credit reports, if I were allowed to decide who can
    and cannot have access to them.


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