Forbes ran an article a couple of weeks ago proving that statistics published by journalists over the amount of complaints filed against collection agencies are false. So why would publications like ABC News, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times publish bad info?
One reason is that readers like to see debt collectors vilified. Another is that after hearing about the egregious actions of agencies like Accretive, the notion that collection agencies receive a proliferation of complaints is not hard to conceive.
Accretive Health is the most notorious debt collection agency in the U.S. today. The agency made headlines for their distasteful collection methods in Minnesota hospitals, where it was alleged that agents would commit acts like hounding patients as they lay on the operating table.
Their actions have already cost them $2.5 million in patient settlements.
But upon hearing of Accretive’s lawsuit, other members of the Assets Receivable Management (ARM (News - Alert)) industry like Rapid Recovery, Inc. were not at all sympathetic to Accretive.
Rapid Recovery’s CEO John Monderine told the press, “It’s hard enough to deal with the health care system, but having collectors pretend to be doctors is just sickening.”
What Monderine finds sickening is also a violation of the Code of Ethics followed by Rapid Recovery and other members of the Commercial Collection Agency Association. Article 3A of the code orders that collectors “avoid deceptive practices, statements or materials which would cause debtors to believe they are dealing with someone other than the member.”
If there’s one message the ARM industry would like to get out to the public, it’s that the situation in Minnesota with Accretive Health is an isolated incident. In fact, ARM members filed a Freedom of Information Act Request a month ago that showed that companies in the ARM industry had on average 2.5 complaints in a two-week period, out of 19,230,769 contacts.
While journalists for Forbes researched the truth about the debt collection agency, they discovered statements such as this one from ABC News: “Debt collectors generate more complaints to the FTC (News - Alert) than any other industry, according to government agency. Last year, there were 144,159 filings against collection companies, the second largest category of complaints to the FTC.”
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Edited by Braden Becker