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  • #16
    collection agency harassment

    Alan McKenney <[email protected]> wrote:
    [email protected] wrote:
    Tony <[email protected]> wrote:
    <snip>
    > If they're trying to collect a debt, it's not harrassment (as long as they> follow the law on when and how often they can call.)
    Is it still not harassment if they are trying to collect a debt from someone who we don't even know?
    So you claim. You could be lying to them and they'd have no way of knowing for sure that you aren't really this person. So yes, they can call as long as they do it within the guidelines laid out by the law. Of course I'm not saying you ARE lying about all this but simply showing it from their point of view.
    I've been following this, and I don't understand this logic.
    The situation, as I understand it, is that someone claiming to be a collection agency is calling a random stranger to harrass about someone else's debt.
    The Random Stranger (RS) tells the putative collection agency (CA) that they know nothing about the debtor. CA refuses to consider the possibility that they have the wrong telephone number or the wrong RS and continues to harrass them.
    I believe that if CA has a phone number that was given on a credit
    application then they have every legal right to call that phone number (as
    long as they doso within the confines of the law; i.e. no calls before
    8:00am, only one call a day, etc.) To say otherwise would require them to
    confirm all phone numbers at the time of granting credit AND to confirm
    continuously that the number has never been disconnected and then
    re-assigned. This is why they have the provision in the law that a person
    can tell them "don't contact me again" (by writing) and they have to then
    honor it.

    How could I, as a CA (which I'm not, really) know if the voice on the other
    end is really Jane Freeloader just saying that she's really Joan
    Buyeverythingwithcash or if Jane really did have that number disconnected at
    some point and Joan did get it assigned by the phone company at a later
    point?
    How is this different from me dropping a $10 bill on the street, coming back an hour later, and grabbing the next best passer-by and demanding that they tell me who took my $10 bill? After all, the passer-by was near where my $10 bill disappeared. And he *might* be lying when he says he knows nothing about the $10 bill.
    Extremely poor analogy.
    It seems to me (a non-lawyer) that, irrespective of any collection agency laws, CA has an obligation to act in a reasonable manner. And refusing to consider the possibility that they have the wrong phone number (a very plausible possibility) and refusing to give out a mailing address are not the actions of a "reasonable man" attempting to collect a debt.
    And saying "but that's not me. Jane Freeloader doesn't live here" is the
    actions of a reasonable debt-dodger. CA's don't even have to be reasonable.
    They simply have to work (barely) with-in the confines of the law. People
    come up with all kinds of lies to try and avoid CA's. How does a CA know
    that this isn't one of them?
    In fact, it raises some doubt in my mind that CA is, in fact, a legitimate collection agency.
    After all, we have only the word of a disembodied voice on the telephone that there is such a debt and that they are have the right to collect it, and *they* might be lying. The fact that they refuse to supply any information that might allow RS to check whether they are who they say they are is suspicious.
    Yes, I agree. But they also would know about the "drop-dead" letter and they
    also would probably realize if they can get the person to agree that they do
    owe $X and agree to even a tiny token of a payment then that starts any
    statute of limitations all over again and they can go after the full amount.
    Thus they'd reason: "If I give this person our address now, they might just
    send a drop-dead letter. But if I get them to agree that they owe the money
    and then give them the address so they can send $10 of the $10,000 (tell
    them that we'd be happy to get any part of the debt,) then I can go sue in
    court for the other $9,990."
    I also think the laws governing collection agencies are a bit beside the point because they deal with how creditors deal with debtors, and RS is neither.
    From what I understand. the laws deal with what they can do to collect a
    debt. And unless RS can prove that she's not the debtor, they can continue
    to call.
    Has the OP asked the local police to treat it as telephone harrassment?
    Again, that may not work as long as they stay within the confines of the law
    concerning debt collection.

    Note that I do NOT agree with the tatics used by most CA's, but simply
    explaining how the law sees it (as far as I understand the law here. But,
    not being a lawyer, I may be way off base here.)

    --
    Mike

    -------------------------------
    "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop
    thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do
    we," George W. "Shrub" Bush Aug 5, 2004

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