The Boston Globe’s editorial page today is advocating for legislative restrictions in the relationships between local district attorneys and private debt collection agencies used to recover bad check debt. The core issue is not that DAs use debt collectors, it’s that many step away from the process and outsource their “prosecutorial discretion” to the companies, according to the editors.

In “New limits are required on out-of-control debt collectors,” Boston Globe editors argue that debt collectors are often protected on the legislative level, since specific exemptions for collection agencies working on behalf of DAs are typically embedded in debt collection laws.

The crux of the piece seems to advocate for fewer carve-outs for debt collectors working on behalf of government clients. It also calls for more oversight on the part of prosecutors and state regulators:

“…any new legislation should be exceedingly clear that DAs will screen every case before turning it over to collectors. The Division of Banks, meanwhile, should insist that the debt collection companies be licensed in Massachusetts.”

The editorial references a piece published in the Globe last month that claimed some Massachusetts DAs had ended their relationships with debt collectors running check aversion programs after revelations in several 2012 news reports.

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