Jake Halpern grew up in Buffalo, which happens to be a national center of debt collection agencies. He writes that more than 5,000 people in the Buffalo area work in debt collection. In his new book, Halpern takes a dive into the underworld of the debt collection industry, where having a criminal background is no barrier to entry, and may sometimes be useful. He writes of a world in which batches of old, uncollected debts may be sold again and again to collection agencies, and may end up being worked by two companies simultaneously. Jake Halpern is a contributor to The New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine, and is the author of Fame Junkies and Braving Home. His new book is called Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld.
Dave Davies asked Halpern why phone calls to people’s homes to collect debts often come from agencies other than the company they originally owed.
Hear what he says.