Man Takes Collection Agency to Court After Receiving Repeated Calls
All too often, consumers receive calls from collection agencies for debts they do not owe. In many cases, those who receive such calls politely (or not) remind the debt collectors that they have the wrong person, and ask to not be contacted again. All too often, this is not enough.
An article on credit.com details the struggles of Mark Jones of Evanston, Illinois, who received repeated calls from collectors for debts he did not owe. After the first call Jones received, the fifty-three year old decided to send a letter to the company asking to cease and desist any future communication with Jones.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, consumers may take legal action if they believe collection agencies are harassing them about incorrect claims. Collectors may also be sued in some cases, up to $1,000 per call.
Jones received a signed letter back from the collection agency acknowledging his request to not be contacted again. Much to his surprise, things got worse.
Jones would receive multiple calls per day, all of them automated with no chance to speak to a real person. Even Jones’ wife was getting flooded with calls.
Jones got fed up and eventually hired a consumer lawyer.
During court proceedings, the collection agency claimed that the calls were an “honest mistake”, even though a representative had sent a signed letter back to Jones promising not contact him again.
The result of the case was a settlement which awarded Jones $1,000, and $3,500 in legal fees for his lawyers.
Jones’s lawyer, Dan Edelman, advises those who find themselves in a similar situation to collect evidence of debt harassment early and often, including documenting any calls received from collectors.
Edelman also recommends requesting proof of the debt owed from the collection agency, as many scam artists obtain lists of consumers who owe debt (whether the information is correct or not) from collection agencies and contact those consumers claiming to be collection agencies.
Additional tips from Edelaman including inquiring about the age of the debt, as well as any paperwork regarding the alleged debt, and to seek help as soon as you believe your rights are being violated.