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Consumers beware: Debt collecting is going high tech

Anyone who has ever received a telemarketing call knows that those who initiate them can be unrelenting. Even if you put your number on the "Do Not Call" list, they seem to find you. Some of the least desired calls in Connecticut are from debt collectors.

There are regulations in place intended to provide consumers relief from dunning collection efforts, but they are often ignored. Taking advantage of the protections available bankruptcy is one of the ways to curb harassment from creditors. If after consulting with an experienced attorney about the various options available you decide to file for bankruptcy, one of the things that happens is that collectors have to cease and desist.

Without the shielding offered in bankruptcy, however, collectors are able to keep at it, and in this digital age, methods of debt collecting are taking greater advantage of technology. Some experts question the legality of some of the new endeavors, but until clarifications are obtained through the courts, they are not likely to stop.

Apps that help debt collectors

One of the most questionable methods now in use involves the use of voicemail.

It used to be that when a collector would call, you might recognize the source and choose not to pick up. Rules against how often collectors can call or requiring that debtors consent to the contact gave the edge to consumers. However, now a program exists allowing collecting companies to send a voicemail directly to a target. The message goes on the phone company server and is delivered to the consumer without the phone ever ringing.

The companies that employ the technology argue that since the phone doesn't ring, it's not a call, and so it's not violating the rules. But at least one consumer protection lawyer dismisses the claim as an attempt to "torture the language of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act."

This is only one of a number of technology advances that consumers should be prepared to endure until they find the best method for achieving debt relief.

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