The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a U.S. government agency that’s supposed to help Americans with money stuff. As part of this mission, they conducted a survey in 2015. They contacted thousands of Americans and asked them a bunch of questions about one subject: debt collection. 2,132 people responded, and what they said was shocking.
- 1 in 3 said they’d been contacted in the past year by someone trying to collect on a debt.
- 1 in 5 said they’d been contacted about a debt and the most recent collector contacted them too frequently.
- 1 in 6 said they’d been contacted about a debt that was wrong in some way. It either wasn’t theirs, it was owed by a family member, or it was for the wrong amount.1
This all gets a lot more shocking when you consider that this survey was designed to indicate what Americans are experiencing nationwide. The CFPB took these answers and extrapolated them to all Americans. What they found was very shocking.
- More than 70 million Americans were contacted in the past year by someone trying to collect on a debt.
- More than 44 million Americans were contacted about a debt and the most recent collector contacted them too frequently.
- More than 37 million Americans were contacted about a debt in the past year that was wrong in some way. It either wasn’t theirs, it was owed by a family member, or it was for the wrong amount.
These findings are in line with other studies too. In 2013, a study by the Urban Institute found that 77 million Americans have a debt in collections.2 ACA International, which represents creditors and debt collectors, estimates their industry “makes in excess of one billion consumer contacts annually.”3
So here are some key takeaways to understand.
- If you’re being called by a debt collector, you are not alone. 70 million Americans are contacted each year.
- Debt collectors often get things wrong. When they say you owe them money, you need to ask for proof. 37 million Americans are contacted each year about debts they don’t believe they owe.
- You have powerful legal rights designed to protect you from harassment. Juris has made enforcing these rights pretty simple. We would love to help.