New York Times Takes Unflinching Look at the Secondary Debt Buying Market

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In a very long feature article running in The New York Times Magazine, author Jake Halpern explores the world of debt brokers and buyers through the eyes of two veteran collection professionals.

Specifically, the piece dives headlong into the Buffalo, N.Y. debt buying and collection industry and the culture unique to companies in and around the city.

Adapted from a forthcoming book, Bad Paper: Chasing Debt From Wall Street to the Underworld, the article, titled “Paper Boys,” details the experiences of the two men as they navigate the very gray area of buying and collecting on cheap, old debt accounts.

Unlike many similar articles, this feature was written in cooperation with the subjects. They explain that even the guys who try to do it right must use tactics that fall into legally gray areas, especially when dealing with unscrupulous or downright criminal “competition” in the secondary debt buying market.

It’s a fascinating read and well worth the time. Check it out.

The article also includes a link to an interactive online game that can be played as either a debtor or a collector. It’s…something.

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Posted in Charge-off, Collection Laws and Regulations, Debt Buying, Debt Collection, Debt Statute of Limitations .

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  • avatar Raymond says:

    “You have the wrong person.” I do not owe the debt.” “I paid this debt off years ago.” These are common in debt collection and debt buying. However, verifying chain of title should be mandatory in today’s world. The profits of collecting a purchased portfolio and reselling the accounts that have not paid is a main contributor to problems that exist today and be assured they are not going away. I have seen the benefits of Mark Parcell’s Global Debt Registry company and others. I suggest that dealing with reality of any inventory starts with ownership of the debt rather than spending money and profits to be cited on the CFPB portal and defending lawsuits.

  • avatar BHA LLC says:

    since the article discusses me and my business quite openly, I guess ill respond.
    I have tried to run a clean shop for the last 15 years.
    I have tried to buy good debt, national, cheap. I don’t threaten to sue, I don’t lie about balances, I don’t double sell accounts.

    despite my past I have run a tight ship, and a lot of people have made money on all ends.
    but we all know the other stuff exists…and we all know it needs to be cleaned up, streamlined, and regulated.

    my cooperation with the article was to ensure it was accurate….and for the most part it is.

    That being said, it is a very small piece of the industry that has operated like those in the article, and they are getting fewer and fewer with the scrutiny our industry has faced
    99% are hardworking men and women trying to support their families without breaking the law

  • avatar Commercial Guy says:

    That was a very interesting read.

  • avatar JSG Jsg says:

    Very interesting – I worked in sales for 1 of the largest bad check guys in the U.S. in the 90′s – we loved the old / cheap / low balance paper (bought for as little as 25 bp’s) and made enormous profits – ran a pretty clean shop as well

  • avatar BHA LLC says:

    Larry flint was asked to answer his critics who called him a bottom feeder…his reply ” ya, that’s true, but look what I found down here”

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