Denver Debt-Relief Watch: Debt Collection Practices Top List of Colorado Consumer Complaints

Denver bankruptcy attorneys were not surprised to read that a 2011 national consumer complaint survey found that out of 1.8 million consumer complaints, debt collection trailed only identity theft for lead complaint category. In this two-part series on dealing with personal debt, Colorado debt-relief attorneys break down the numbers for common consumer complaints and offer tips on dealing with debt collection calls.

According to the Federal Trade Commission report, identity theft complaints captured 15 percent of all consumer complaints filed in 2011 with debt collection claiming second place at 10 percent. Nationally, the ‘Top 10’ consumer complaints and their rankings are as follows:

  1. Identity Theft: 279,156 complaints (15 percent).
  2. Debt Collection: 180,928 complaints (10 percent).
  3. Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries: 100,208 complaints (6 percent).
  4. Shop-At-Home and Catalog Sales: 98,306 complaints (5 percent).
  5. Banks and Lenders: 89,341 complaints (5 percent).
  6. Internet Services: 81,805 complaints (5 percent).
  7. Auto-Related: 77,435 complaints (4 percent).
  8. Impostor Scams: 73,281 complaints (4 percent).
  9. Telephone and Mobile Services: 70,024 complaints (4 percent).
  10. Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair: 47,414 complaints (3 percent).

Further, the FTC report indicates that across Colorado, consumers registered 28,854 complaints (33,010 if you include identity theft complaints) in 2011. Of those, debt collection topped the list by a comfortable margin. Statewide, the ‘Top 10’ consumer complaints and their rankings are as follows:

  1. Debt Collection: 3,210 complaints (11 percent).
  2. Internet Services: 1,966 complaints (7 percent).
  3. Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales: 1,928 complaints (7 percent).
  4. Impostor Scams: 1,881 complaints (7 percent).
  5. Banks and Lenders: 1,705 complaints (6 percent).
  6. Auto-Related: 1,456 complaints (5 percent).
  7. Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries: 1,327 complaints (5 percent).
  8. Telephone and Mobile Services: 1,176 complaints (4 percent).
  9. Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair: 1,021 complaints (4 percent).
  10. Credit Cards: 931 complaints (3 percent).

According to the Coloradoan, Colorado had the highest per capita consumer complaint rate with 573.7 complaints filed per 100,000 residents, and was followed by Delaware and Maryland, respectively. At least one Colorado-based consumer expert attributes the high number of statewide complaint filings to better consumer awareness.

If you or someone you know has been plagued with harassing debt collection calls, Colorado Springs bankruptcy attorney Stephen H. Swift can help you navigate the bankruptcy process and reduce the financial stress facing many Colorado residents today. To schedule a free confidential consultation, call (719) 520-0164.

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