While the economic downturn and the slow recovery have made for a surge in demand for debt collectors - both public and private - the resources and capabilities of such professionals have been curtailed. To add to the trouble, consumer complaints about debt collectors have been on the rise - not surprisingly, given the weak economy - and public officials are increasingly siding with debtors. "It's harder to collect than ever because people are in genuine hardship," Harry Strausser III, president of the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association, told The Associated Press. "With unemployment the way it is and the terrible foreclosures, people are having a harder time making ends meet. There's more potential business, and we're having a tougher time trying to collect it." Last year, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission received 140,036 debt collection
-related complaints, up from 119,609 in 2009, according to the source. Recently, industry leaders began lobbying against proposed legislation that would require debt collectors to accurately document all dues owed to them.