Last May, Bill Bartmann, CEO of debt discounting service CFS II, launched a 50-state campaign called Stop These Criminals, aimed at reforming the debt collection industry. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumer complaints against debt collectors reached more than 140,000 in 2010 - up 17 percent from 2009. Understanding that consumers wanted help from collections and that best practices weren't being undertaken by agencies when they were finding debtors
, Bartmann took his proposal to the Oklahoma government, which resulted in a new regulatory law, Senate Bill 1430. Earlier this week Bartmann went to Kansas, where he shared his proposal with state officials. The average debt per consumer in the state was more than $15,000 during Q2 2011, and practices have become more aggressive. "With about 30 million Americans facing late bills, the collection industry is being thrown into the national spotlight and not for good reasons," said Bartmann. According to the StopTheseCriminals.com website, some of the benchmarks in Bartmann's campaign include increasing the penalty for violations of debt collection rules from the current $1,000 to $10,000 for each violation.