Minnesota Looks to Toughen Laws for Pugnacious Bill Collectors
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 15, 2013
Minnesota lawmakers have proposed new legislation to crack down on overly aggressive debt collectors and keep firms from pursuing funds that a consumer does not owe. Under the bipartisan proposal introduced Jan. 14, debt collectors would have to provide evidence that they are pursuing the right person for the correct bill. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson pointed out that if collections companies use the courts, they should have to file evidence that their basic facts are correct. The debt collection business has expanded significantly during the recession, with discounted sales of electronic portfolios of consumers' past-due bills. However, Swanson said that these debt portfolios can be unreliable. Companies selling the data often will not vouch for its accuracy or completeness, and consumers sued for payment often must go to court simply to prove that the collection attempt is in error. As of Jan. 2, any company that has over $10 million in annual receipts from consumer debt collection is under the supervision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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