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We know better … debt collectors have debt too! These guys are often a**holes who will threaten the repossession of someone’s house, car, assets and anything worth value in their possession. And they’re tired of being threatened? Okay. They have been trained to harass, intimidate and use scare tactics to collect payments and now they’re upset ’cause folks ain’t having that ish.

As a longtime debt collector, Lesllie Rogers has been routinely insulted, pummeled with obscenities, crudely propositioned and threatened with violence by the people she calls.

“They want you to feel as small and insignificant as possible,” said Ms. Rogers, who works for a collection agency in Rochester, Minn. “The guy who sits across from me just was threatened with getting his legs and arms cut off.”

Debt collectors like Ms. Rogers are well aware that they are not a sympathetic lot. But now they are saying enough is enough. The trade association that represents them is engaged in an unlikely charm offensive to change their lowly image, while also trying to shape the rules that govern them as they face the prospect of a tough new regulator.

“Instead of playing games,” she said, “just admit that you don’t have money and we’ll go from there.”

Debt collectors as human beings? It could be their toughest commission yet.

Indeed, Mark Neeb, the association’s incoming president, says that most debt collectors are the “salt of the earth” and are tired of being defined by the worst members of their profession. And it is they who are feeling harassed.

“We can’t help consumers with their financial problems if we can’t get ahold of them,” Mr. Neeb said.

“There really ought to be a law on how consumers behave towards debt collectors,” said Mr. Neeb, whose employees routinely use aliases on the phone to protect their identity from hostile debtors.

A law on consumer behavior towards debt collectors? Okay, how bout you stop calling and asking about the same dough that wasn’t available yesterday? How ’bout you don’t worry about when folks get paid next? How ’bout you let folks call you back when they get the money? It’s a two way street – stop threatening folks and maybe they won’t threaten you!




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