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editorial

New limits are required on out-of-control debt collectors

District attorneys’ offices have more pressing matters than chasing down people who bounce checks at supermarkets and other retail establishments. It’s understandable, even advisable, that prosecutors would contract out the administrative work to private collection agencies. But no one is served when the DAs turn over their prosecutorial discretion to private entities in the process.

Last month, a Globe article revealed how two unlicensed debt collection agencies — Corrective Solutions and BounceBack — not only dunned writers of bad checks but also determined who had crossed the threshold from sloppy record keeping into criminality. The state Division of Banks, which regulates debt collection agencies, was unaware of the practices until contacted by a reporter. Subsequently, the district attorneys in six counties, including Suffolk, Middlesex, and Norfolk, terminated or suspended their relationships with the unlicensed debt collection agencies.

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