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Bad Paper: Inside the Secret World of Debt Collectors    by Jake Halpern order for
Bad Paper
by Jake Halpern
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2015 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

'The Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about rogue debt collecting than it does about any activity besides identity theft.'

This quote is printed on the back cover of an extremely interesting and alarming book. One that probably should be read by everyone just in case you find yourself in a bad financial situation. Unless you have a really horrible financial record, it is relatively easy to borrow money. Whether it is for a house, car, health problems, or just running short before the end of the month, you can get a loan.

When loans are not repaid in a reasonable period of time, they are turned over to a debt collector (often for pennies on the dollar), who might or might not use approved methods for collecting unpaid debt. Chase Bank, for instance, has turned over thousands of bad paper to collectors who use nasty, frightening, and intimidating methods to obtain a payment which, by the way, is illegal.

The collectors, out to make as many collections as they can, might threaten the debtor with a subpoena to appear in court to resolve the problem. Or promise to come to their house to collect. Or maybe threaten to publicize the debt to embarrass them with family and neighbors. What they don't share is that the more debts they collect the bigger bonus they receive.

Bad Paper is a fascinating tale of the world of debt and the millions of dollars that are made in this extremely lucrative business. I had no idea that this whole endeavor existed never gave it a thought. Boy, did this open my eyes! As I made a vow to myself to never borrow from anyone.

I turned to the first page of Bad Paper thinking that was not my kind of book. By the time I hit the second page, I was hooked. I have never been approached by a debt collector. Nor do I want to be. I shall make sure I never will be.

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