Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "collection agencies" ...

  • KARE 11 Investigates: “A Pattern of Denial”

    KARE 11’s two-year investigation exposed a systemic nationwide pattern of veterans having their emergency medical bills improperly denied and often turned over to collection agencies. VA whistleblowers revealed to KARE that government quotas for processing claims – and a computer system that made it easier to deny claims than to approve them – were to blame for many denials. The improper denials could total billions of dollars.
  • 40 Million Mistakes

    60 MINUTES SET-OUT TO INVESTIGATE THE CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING INDUSTRY, A FOUR-BILLION-DOLLAR-A-YEAR INDUSTRY WHICH KEEPS FILES ON 200 MILLION AMERICANS AND TRAFFICS IN OUR FINANCIAL REPUTATIONS. THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES COLLECT DATA ABOUT CONSUMERS FROM CREDIT CARD COMPANIES, BANKS, CAR DEALERSHIPS, COLLECTION AGENCIES, AND COURT RECORDS; THEY COLLATE THE DATA AND CREATE CREDIT REPORTS WHICH THEY SELL TO BUSINESSES THAT USE THE REPORTS TO JUDGE OUR CREDITWORTHINESS AND RELIABILITY. AN ERROR ON A CREDIT REPORT CAN COST CONSUMERS A LOT OF MONEY AND A LOT OF HARDSHIP; AN ERROR CAN INCREASE THE INTEREST RATE ON LOANS, PREVENT SOMEONE FROM GETTING A MORTGAGE OR BUYING A CAR, LANDING A JOB OR GAINING SECURITY CLEARANCE.
  • 40 Million Mistakes

    60 Minutes set-out to investigate the consumer credit reporting industry, a four-billion-dollar-a-year industry which keeps files in our financial reputations. The credit reporting agencies collect data about consumers from credit card companies, banks, car dealerships, collection agencies and court records; they collate the data and create credit reports which they sell to businesses that use the reports to judge our creditworthiness and reliability. An error on a credit report can cost consumers a lot of money and a lot of hardship; an error can increase the interest rate on loans; prevent someone from getting a mortgage or buying a car, landing a job or gaining security clearance.
  • Prognosis: Profits

    In their quest for growth and profits, large nonprofit hospitals in North Carolina have pushed up healthcare costs, paid executives millions and left thousands with bills they struggle to pay. In a joint investigation, the Charlotte Observer and the News & Observer of Raleigh found that urban hospitals in North Carolina have generated some of the nation’s largest profit margins and have amassed billions of dollars in reserves. Hospitals in the Charlotte area have sued thousands of needy patients they could afford to help, frequently putting liens on their homes and damaging their credit. Raleigh-Durham hospitals, meanwhile, have sent collection agencies after thousands of patients, ruining the credit ratings of many in the process.
  • "Hounded:Debtors and the new breed of collectors"

    In this series, reporters Chris Serres and Glenn Howatt reveal how debt collection has become a "profitable industry." In additional to missteps taken by collection agencies, this series also reveals how people are being arrested for failing to pay bills. Their bail has often been set at the exact amount of the debt that they owe.
  • Mother's Little Helpers

    Faced with ineffective state child-support collection agencies, desperate mothers are turning more and more to private firms to get hold of the money that they're due. But critics say these firms use fuzzy contracts and overly aggressive tactics to take a hefty part of the proceeds--often leaving women worse off than they were before.
  • Decoding your hospital bills

    "Consumer Reports recently surveyed 21,000 readers on satisfaction with hospital stays. Of the 11,000 respondents who had reviewed their itemized hospital bills, 5 percent said they found major errors."
  • The high-tech hunt for deadbeat dads

    The USA Weekend insert in the Columbia Daily Tribune reports that "At least 10 million U.S. kids don't get the support they're owed. Government can't seem to collect. Here come the 'daddy trackers,' who usually get their man - and about 30 percent off the top.... many thousands of custodial parents who are turning to these controversial collection agencies... Part lawyer, part entrepreneur, part gumshoe, this new breed of specialist has begun to hang out shingles in cities and towns across the nation, catering to the needs of people exasperated by the glacial pace and often shoddy performance of the beleaguered child support bureaucracies..."
  • (Untitled)

    Southern Exposure details how loan officers and debt collections entice minorities and other low-income groups into signing loan agreements which put them into further debt. The article highlights how debt collection agencies and loan officers usually harass the poor about their debts, Winter 1994.