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Do Debt Collectors Tend to Harass Black People More Than Others?

According to a December 2013 survey, African-Americans may actually experience more abusive and nagging debt collector contact than whites or other ethnic groups. Many economists, politicians and others are still trying to determine if this is actually true. Obviously, if any type of broad-based racial discrimination is going on, new types of lawsuits may have to be filed one day.

            However, until more clear evidence can be produced, it's important to determine if there are any valid, factual reasons why debt collectors may be contacting blacks more often than other racial or ethnic groups.

            While reviewing the various facts and theories below, keep in mind that a number of financial groups actually do try to target specific Americans they hope and assume are less knowledgeable about market practices and principles – because they know this can help increase their profits.

Reasons Why Blacks May Actually Be Experiencing More Abuse from Debt Collectors

  • Unemployment rates often remain much higher among African-Americans. Frequently, people who have long been denied top educational opportunities and job training are less likely to qualify for high-paying jobs that can help them easily meet all of their basic living expenses. For this reason, many blacks may find it harder to locate and keep good jobs – thereby increasing their chances of defaulting on various loans or failing to keep up with their monthly credit card debts and other payments;
  • The downturn in the economy in recent years has apparently hurt Black homeowners more than others. According to one Huffington Post article, “sub-prime lenders were more likely to target African-Americans during the housing boom.” For this reason, many Blacks are still struggling to get back on their feet – long after other ethnic groups have slowly begun to regain their footing;
  • Lower credit scores make obtaining critical credit harder for African-Americans. The recent survey revealed that, “Black Americans tend to have lower credit scores than white Americans.” People with lower credit scores usually have to accept much higher interest rates when they need auto, business or other loans. Obviously, the higher the interest, the greater the chance the debtor will default on the loan (or even credit card debts). A vicious cycle is perpetuated, benefitting the wealthy by further damaging the poor.


            While it isn't completely clear if African-Americans are being harassed more (in terms of percentages) than white Americans, many serious questions remain. Today, every ethnic group must work even harder to just use cash whenever buying things.

Many learned academicians are convinced that our economy truly is now regularly victimizing the poor – regardless of skin color. The Nobel Prize winner and journalist Paul Krugman makes this type of argument in his excellent October 2013 op-ed entitled War on the Poor.

If you believe that you’re a victim of any abusive debt collection practices, contact the Law Offices of Georgia consumer protection attorney Shane Smith so that you can learn more about your rights under federal and state consumer protection statutes. Call (770) 487-8999 today to schedule your free initial consultation.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia