The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s page “ask CFPB” on debt collection, is a useful resource for consumers. It also provides some insights into the kind of debt collection problems consumers face. Among the top ten most-viewed questions on the CFPB’s site are:
- A debt collector has told me it is going to have my security clearance revoked because of being delinquent on my credit card bill. Can they do that?
The CFPB answers no: “The debt collector cannot influence the security manager about granting or extending your clearance. A bad debt on your credit report can, however, lower your credit score, which may be considered when your security clearance is up for review.” However, Servicemembers may face disciplinary action for failure to pay “just obligations.”
- I’m a servicemember and I’m being harassed by a debt collector about a debt that I do not think I owe. What are my rights and where can I get help?
The CFPB explains that servicemembers have the same rights as everyone else under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and encourages servicemembers to demand verification of the debt, consult their local JAG and take advantage of CFPB’s sample letters.
The CFPB gives the warning signs for debt collection scams and recommends reporting scam calls.
The CFPB explains that “[c]ollections agencies don’t have the legal authority to issue arrest warrants or have you put in jail.” But follows up with a warning “[i]f a collector has obtained a judgment against you and you ignore an order to appear in court, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.”
Consumers, particularly servicemembers, seem to be seeking advice about bad behavior by debt collectors – especially false threats and harassment.
The question-and-answer voted “most helpful”, was simply I’ve been contacted by a debt collector. How do I reply? The CFPB explains the options and provides links to its sample letters, such as “I do not owe this debt.”