A look at aggressive credit card collection practices

Credit card swipe
In this Nov. 2, 2009 file photo, a customer swipes a MasterCard debit card through a machine while checking-out at a shop in Seattle. Consumers are wedged in the middle of a fight between bankers and merchants as the Senate plans a showdown vote Wednesday June 8, 2011 over whether to limit fees that stores pay financial institutions every time a debit card is swiped.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file

A foreclosure industry practice known as "robo-signing" ended in a $25 billion settlement among five of the biggest banks and 40 states. The practice involved fake signatures to speed up foreclosures. But that might not be the only problem with debt collection's robotic procedures for quick money.

When credit card companies try to win back supposed unpaid bills, they allegedly use fake documents and generic testimony to make their case.

We did a segment on the topic last week. We'll follow up on the topic on The Daily Circuit Tuesday. Mark Heaney, consumer rights lawyer at Heaney Law Firm, and Jeff Horwitz, an investigative reporter and risk management editor for American Banker, will join the conversation.

More from The New York Times:

Many of the suits rely on erroneous documents, faulty records and boilerplate testimony -- a pattern that resembles in many respects the "robo signing" scandal of 2010, in which banks filed false court documents in foreclosure cases, depriving homeowners of due process that may have saved their homes.

Some credit card companies, including American Express and Citigroup, defend their procedures and insist that safeguards are in place to ensure that their court filings are accurate. But consumer advocates say that in many cases the suits involve debt that has already been discharged in separate bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise settled or collected. Where debts remain, the amounts are often inflated by excessive fees.

Have you ever had a debt collector contact you? Comment on the blog.

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