TULSA, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma businessman Bill Bartmann – who built the world's largest debt collection agency in the 1990s – has now launched an effort to put a stop to abusive and threatening debt collection practices.
CFS II President Bartmann is asking Oklahomans to join him in fighting debt-collection abuses by signing an online petition or joining his cause on Facebook. He has a 10-point plan, called the Bartmann Bill, to reform state debt collection laws.
But before the plan can get going, he says it is up to Oklahomans to contact their legislators if they feel they are being threatened or abused by debt collectors, to let lawmakers know there are problems.
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"I believe people ought to pay their bills, but just because a person can't pay their bills, doesn't mean we shouldn't be civilized about the way we go about asking them to pay."
Consumer complaints have risen 17 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, according to the Federal Trade Commission, with a total of 140,036 debt collection abuse claims. In Oklahoma, the number of people going to jail for failing to pay their bills is also rising.
"Oklahoma is poised to lead the nation on debt collection reform, and I'm in a position to spearhead the effort," Bartmann said.
"Collection agencies and collection agents playing by the rules will welcome these measures to clean up our industry that touches millions of lives."
The Bartmann Bill: