“The company continues to harass the parent even when non-custodial parents say they do not owe the money, and provide documentation (such as a zero-balance account statement from the state child support agency, adoption papers, or cancelled checks).
“Even though the company knows they do not owe the money, it continues to pursue them, and will not respond to calls or letters.”
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national nonprofit that works to improve the lives of low-income people. CLASP”s mission is to improve the economic security, educational and workforce prospects, and family stability of low-income parents, children, and youth and to secure equal justice for all.
CLASP Senior Staff Attorney Vicki Turetsky recently issued a devastating critique of private child support collection companies, such as Jim Durham’s National Child Support Center, which is featured in Lifetime’s Deadbeat Dads. Fathers & Families led a successful campaign to drive the Show off of Fox last year, and is currently protesting Lifetime’s plans to air it–to learn more, see our campaign page here.
According to Turetsky’s report Private Child Support Collection Companies:
The company calls non-custodial parents several times a week at home and work, calls their church pastors, leaves flyers in the neighbors” mailboxes, calls them names, threatens them with jail, menaces them in a way that they have become concerned for their physical safety, repeatedly pulls down their credit reports, puts liens on their houses, and threatens the mortgage holders.
The company represents itself as a government agency, uses a misleading name (e.g., “Child Support Enforcement’ or “Child Support Bureau’) or uses official-looking documents. The company refuses to cancel the contract, even when the custodial parent is afraid that the non-custodial parent may harm her or the children. Instead, the company tells the custodial parent to get a restraining order.
The company telephones the grandparents and tells them that they will put their sons in jail tomorrow unless they provide a credit card number or certified check immediately.
The company pursues decades-old debts barred by the state”s statute of limitations, and inflates those debts by charging tens of thousands of additional dollars as “interest,” even when state law does not authorize the interest charges.
The company continues to harass the parent even when non-custodial parents say they do not owe the money, and provide documentation (such as a zero-balance account statement from the state child support agency, adoption papers, or cancelled checks). Even though the company knows they do not owe the money, it continues to pursue them, and will not respond to calls or letters. The company makes no effort to verify debt, but instead tries to extort a settlement.