Victims go public with financial horror stories

consumer debt

Triple-digit interest rates on a loan. Debt collectors harassing you at the office. Arrest threats for unpaid debts.

These fiscal nightmares are playing out across the country, and now consumers' complaints against financial institutions are public. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a database Thursday with more than 7,700 consumer personal tales of grievances about lending, banking practices and other financial services along with the companies' responses.

The CFPB said on its website that by submitting a complaint, consumers can get help to rectify their issues and help others avoid similar situations.

Here's a look at some of the David vs. Goliath battles consumers are facing across the nation:

1. Aggressive debt collection practices

Having a large debt payment is daunting, but the situation for some is being made worse by aggressive scare tactics from debt collectors.

"A man...leaves a voice mail saying he is coming to my house with the sheriff department to serve me documents on a case against me," one consumer shared.

Another complaint detailed multiple calls from a debt collector at work, jeopardizing the consumer's employment.

"I have told the people from this company to please not call me at my work, but contact me at home and I feel that they are purposefully ignoring my request in an attempt to shame or embarrass me into paying," the complaint said.

Related: The secret world of government debt collection

2. Loans for a college that no longer exists

College is expensive, even for those who don't end up with a degree by no fault of their own.

With graduation right around the corner, a student in California claims to have received a text message saying the college was closing. But the student's loans aren't disappearing.

"I feel that XXXX [name redacted by CFPB] College is to pay back my loan to the company, after all XXXX [name redacted] is the one that broke the contract."

Another student reported his $30,000 loan for a school that closed 10 years ago, is costing $60,000. "My wages started to be garnished and had been garnished for the past 14 years."

Related: Government will erase debt for Corinthian Colleges students

3. Tiny disclosures with big implications

It's always worth taking the time to read the fine print.

"I received a letter...that included a check for $800.00. In reality, this is an offer for an $800.00 loan with an APR of 91.02% ($370.00 in finance charges). Is this legal? Shouldn't the CFPB be shutting down predatory lending of this nature?" one complaint said (the names were not made public on the CFPB website).

4. Payday loans with huge interest rates

Payday loans are known to have high interest rates, but one consumer alleged getting hit with a triple-digit rate.

"Took out pay day loan from XXXX [name redacted] .... at (as I found out later ) outrageous interest rate over 200% APR (at least). Attempted to resolve the matter (to reduce APR) they refused to. They tried to get money out of me -- I blocked them. Over 15 months later I get threatening calls..."

The consumer claimed to be threatened with criminal charges: "They started to call everyone with the same last name and threatening them too."

5. Unexpected mortgage burdens

Part of the lure of buying a house over renting are the steady mortgage payments, which makes it easier to budget accordingly. Until those monthly payments go up unexpectedly.

"I have had the same mortgage payment since purchasing my home...I received a mortgage payment statement increasing my payment by about {$300.00}. When I attempted to call the lender it took three days to get in touch with anyone. Finally I was notified by the lender that I was sent an escrow analysis (which I did not receive by mail) and they have found there was an error made and for the past two years they have been not charging me enough PMI and now I owe the difference for the past two years, therefore significantly increasing my monthly payment..."

The homeowner concluded, "I am now unable to afford my mortgage."

Related: The middle class is struggling to make the rent

Editor's note: Complaints have been slightly modified for clarity.

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