CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Many are having a hard time to pay bills as the coronavirus pandemic has depleted the economy.
The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Chattanooga is currently working with over 100 collection agencies in Tennessee and offers financial literacy to over 100 Chattanooga residents on a monthly basis.
The non-profit alleviates debts through payment plans.
“Nobody wants to be on a diet” said Director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Chattanooga, Latricia Schobert. “And nobody wants to be on a budget but we all should have a budget set in place so we know what we’re spending our money on.”
Symend, a science-driven engagement platform, says a debt being payed off critically depends on a positive engagement between a bill collector and their customer.
In a survey by Symend, over 1 thousand Americans were asked about their experiences with debt collection.
Over 50 percent of people say they were tricked or deceived by bill collectors.
“There are rules that they have to follow” said Schobert.
Schobert says because national debt collectors like credit card companies are so regulated, first person collectors tend to abuse their practices more.
“We see this a lot with pay day loans. Those are the people that usually show up at your door and call all hours of the day and night.”
Schobert says Yelling on the phone, making threats, and contacting friends or family of someone who owes a debt are illegal and can be report to the Center for Financial Protection Bureau.
“Make sure you find out who’s calling, the person their phone number -as much detail as you can. They will follow up and they have sued many collection operations.”
Over half the people involved in the Symend survey say they receive daily phone calls from collectors.
One phone call a day is considered legal but if you ask for evidence of the debt, collectors cannot call you for 30 days.
“So lets say they call and they’re like ‘hey you owe 5 thousand dollars’ well what do I owe that 5 thousand dollars for? ‘Well it was a credit card bill.’ What
was the credit card bill for?’ They have to provide you that information.”
Schobert says you cannot be taken to jail for failing to miss a payment of any amount or any length of time.
If you would like to make a complaint to the enter for Financial Protection Bureau, here is the link: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/
If you would like financial consultation or need to set up a payment plan, here is the number: 423-490-5620.
Also check out https://symend.com/ for their latest reports.