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Consumers may find relief from medical debt collectors

Few things are more stressful than experiencing a serious illness or injury. But when the associated bills start rolling in, many people in Washington feel that the stress of the financial burden is worse than being sick. Some will struggle for many years with medical debt, eventually turning to personal bankruptcy in order to find relief from medical debt collectors.

Consumers may have achieved something of a victory in a recent move by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB took enforcement action against two medical debt collections firms after reports that the companies were breaking the law in regard to debt collection practices. Specifically, both companies were sending letters to consumers that contained threats of lawsuits. The letterhead and signature stamps used led consumers to believe that the correspondence was coming from an attorney's office, although that was not the case.

Those two companies will now have to refund more than $550,000 to individuals who sent in payments in response to those letters. In addition, the firms will have to pay a fine of $78,800 to the Civil Penalty Fund of the CFPB. The matter has also led to increased awareness among consumers about improper debt collections efforts, which can help consumers know when to contact the CFPB to report wrongdoing.

Drowning in medical debt is a difficult way to live. For those in Washington who are saddled with heavy debt loads and unsure how to move forward, it may be worth the time and effort to contact a bankruptcy attorney. A number of options exist, many of which can help consumers find relief from medical debt collectors.

Source: consumerist.com, "Medical Debt Collection Firms Must Refund $577K For Threatening Consumers", Ashlee Kieler, Jan. 9, 2017

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