By Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken
February 17, 2015
Government agencies across the country are hiring private debt collectors to go after millions of Americans over unpaid taxes, ancient parking tickets and even $1 tolls.
It’s a good deal for cash-strapped states, cities and other local governments. By outsourcing this dirty work and letting private companies charge debtors sky-high fees, government agencies can get these collection services free of charge.
And it's a great deal for debt collectors. In an industry already known for bad behavior, debt collectors that work for government agencies usually don’t have to work within the confines of consumer protection laws – opening the door for higher fees and even more aggressive tactics.
Their government bosses can give them the power to threaten debtors with the suspension of their driver’s license, garnishment of their wages, foreclosure and arrest to get them to pay up.
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