COLUMBUS (AP) - An Ohio newspaper says that thousands of consumer complaints filed with federal and state agencies say debt collectors have ruined credit reputations over debts never owed or already paid.
The Columbus Dispatch reported today that some debt collectors have forced consumers into paying debts that are erroneous or fraudulent.
Debt collectors maintain that such instances are rare and often the fault of the original creditors.
Government regulators, watchdogs and consumer advocates have called for changes to the federal law that governs debt collection and allows debt collectors almost unregulated access to credit reports.
The debt collection industry says only a fraction of the 4 million consumers it deals with each year file formal complaints.