Complaining Will Get You Nowhere

http://flic.kr/p/4QkPh

Nearly every news article on debt collection harassment advises readers to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, and/or the state Attorney General. While this advice is not harmful, it is useless. None of these organizations are likely to do anything to help.

Instead, when dealing with a debt collector, take careful notes, record if you can, and call a consumer rights lawyer as soon as possible.

The FTC mostly collects consumer complaints. Every once in awhile, it issues a fine, but that’s about it. The Better Business Bureau will pass along complaints. This may get results when it comes to plumbers, but debt collectors usually just dispute the complaint and move on. State attorneys general also pass along complaints, but most do not take action on behalf of individual consumers.

I don’t mean that consumers should not complain to the FTC. The FTC’s statistics are important, and inform Congress’s legislative agenda. Complaining to your state’s AG may be similarly useful. (I’m not sure what complaining to the BBB accomplishes, though.)

If you do complain to the FTC, BBB, and your state’s AG, just don’t expect results. The only way to get results is to take careful notes, record if you can, and call a consumer rights lawyer as soon as possible.