Debt Collection Harassment, William Peerce Howard
There is a recent trend in our country and it is a bad one. It's the age of automated harassment. Debt collectors, credit card companies, banks and others are using the telephone to terrorize people. These companies are using "auto-dialers" or "Robo-Dialers" to call numbers up to 10 to 20 times per day. The intention is to make people feel helpless and frustrated. The result is people end up paying certain bills like credit card debts when they should be paying more important bills like medical necessities and food. Don't fall for it. Most of these calls are unmanned and if they detect an answering machine the system hangs-up and calls back again the next hour. Sometimes the collectors will talk to you and then simply call right back. Unfortunately, these terror technics are not isolated just to the home. Many of these harassers call the work place with the hope if they call and cause you trouble at work you will pay them rather than risk possible employment problems.
These clearly illegal tactics are common because not enough people are standing up for their rights.
These clearly illegal tactics are common because not enough people are standing up for their rights. We all have the right of privacy and a right not to be harassed or abused by collectors.
The key to stopping this form of abuse is to document the illegal conduct and take control of the situation. If the machines are hanging up and calling back record the information on a Call Log. Take a picture of your caller id if you can. If they are leaving messages save the messages. Pick up the phone when it rings and ask who it is, what their supervisor's name is, what company they are calling from and whats their telephone number. Immediately after the call write all this down and exactly what was said on a Call Log. [Download the sample Call Log off our web-site or just copy it] Keep your call log next to the phone. The same goes for calls at work, tell debt collectors that you can not get calls at work and to never call you at work. The next call they make to your work place should cost them. The harassers rely on the fact that the people they harass will not keep accurate records and will not remember who called them, how many times and when. Tell the collector what is going on i.e. you can not pay the bill at this time and you will call them back when you can. If a collector is told in the morning that you can not pay the bill if they call back that afternoon it is harassment unless they reasonably think you hit the lottery during your lunch break.
We have been very successful in making these companies stop doing this to our clients in addition to paying our clients damages for this conduct. In fact, yesterday a jury awarded our client $76,000 for harassing phone calls. The next time a collector abuses you tell them that you will not stand by while they violate your rights. A sample of State and Federal laws can also be found on our website.