With many Americans in dire financial straits, states are cracking down to make sure aggressive debt collectors target only people who legitimately owe them money.
National consumer credit laws already prohibit collection agencies from harassing, deceptive, or unfair practices like telling neighbors or family about what is owed, or calling before 8 a.m. or late at night. Now a half-dozen states have adopted additional limits, like imposing statutes of limitation on collections and adding opportunities to punish abusive practices in court, and other states may follow suit.
Lawmakers are increasingly focusing on outfits that buy bad debt from credit card companies and other lenders for pennies on the dollar and profit when they collect more than they paid.
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