Many Mississippi residents cringe at the thought of overdue medical bills. After all, along with student loan debt, it is the leading cause of debt in the country. As the struggle to pay medical bills lingers on, many have turned to a variety of solutions. Some Americans, however, discover that they did not owe medical debt in the first place. When this is the situation at hand, a number of problems can ensue.
As The New York Times discussed last year, two thirds of those who made complaints to federal regulators about medical debt claimed they did not owe the money to begin with. Others argued they had already addressed financial issues through bankruptcy. Using a study from the U.S. PIRG and the Frontier group, The Times explains that debt collectors sometimes make mistakes, going after the wrong people. How does such a mistake occur? Some experts point toward a complex healthcare system; as a result, consumers can develop confusion over insurance plans and other details. Another contributing factor to the complaints involved harassment from creditors, and although such abusive behavior is banned by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it nevertheless occurs.
Many consumers who find themselves in confusing financial chapters may benefit from learning more about creditor abuse. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines creditor harassment as behavior intended to annoy, threat or abuse, usually in the form of repetitious phone calls. Some creditors even go as far as to make violent threats to debtors, while others skew information about debt owed. These actions, as explained by the CFPB, are in violation of the FDCPA, and consumers have the right to take legal action. The CFPB understands these situations can be time-consuming and stressful, and concludes by encouraging readers to always keep documentation of harassment incidents.