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Debt Collectors Using Facebook To Embarrass Those Who Owe 266

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up-or-be-unfriended dept.
Not even the tranquility of FarmVille can save you from the long arm of debt collectors. Melanie Beacham says that a collector from MarkOne Financial contacted her relatives about her past due car note via Facebook. She is filing suit alleging that the company is harassing her family. Tampa based consumer attorney Billy Howard of Morgan & Morgan says, "Now Facebook does a debt collectors work for them. Now it's not only family members, it's all of your associates. It's a very powerful tool for debt collectors to use."

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Debt Collectors Using Facebook To Embarrass Those Who Owe

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @12:42PM (#34255722) Journal
    I know collection debt law Is hazy as it varies from state to state and sometimes even has caveats internal to cities themselves but I thought there was a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [wikipedia.org] to protect consumers from crap just like this. I'm not a lawyer and Wikipedia's not exactly the foremost authority on the law but:

    Communication with third parties [cornell.edu]: revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumer's spouse or attorney) (Collection agencies are allowed to contact neighbors or co-workers but only to obtain location information; disreputable agencies often harass debtors with a "block party" or "office party" where they contact multiple neighbors or co-workers telling them they need to reach the debtor on an urgent matter.)

    And if they posted something on your wall, that could fall under a number of these laws. Hell, if you consider 'Facebook' an embarrassing media:

    Contact by embarrassing media, such as communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card, or using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business

    And if the debt collection's profile wasn't MARKONE DEBT COLLECTOR I'd be looking at that sort of shadiness as well.

    Having been the subject of a mysterious $180 debt collection put on my credit report over six years after they allege it happened in 2003 with no attempts to contact me until two months ago, I implore this woman to seek more than just a court order against MarkOne but instead to get the law amended now that social network websites are prevalent. They are a new form of contact medium that exposes far more information than the phone book and the current laws should apply or be updated minimally to reflect this.

    If you're wondering about my $180, I contacted them immediately. After getting all my current information so they could commence harassment, they told me to log onto some third party site and contest it. I did. Three weeks later I got a judgment: REMAINS. I was informed that, short of litigious action, that was the extent of my rights in that situation.

    • by magarity (164372) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @12:46PM (#34255800)

      The article says it is the company that financed the car, which would make them the primary debt holder and not a collections agency. Read the Wiki you linked: "While the FDCPA generally applies only to third party debt collectors—not internal collectors for an "original creditor"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by iamhassi (659463)
        "Read the Wiki you linked: "While the FDCPA generally applies only to third party debt collectors—not internal collectors for an "original creditor""

        True, but there's limitations: for example, if someone owes me money I can't run commercials or billboards with their name, picture and address saying "JOHN DOE OWES ME $200 DOLLARS!". There are limitations, and I think posting information or contacting someone's friends and family on Facebook would be considered one of those limitations.

        After all
        • by magarity (164372)

          Again, the same thing. The link to fmdconsumer.com is about collections agencies, not primary debt providers. The /. article is about a primary debt provider, not a collections agency. Your point and your link about collector calls concerns rules for collection agencies, not primary debt providers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by fahlesr1 (1910982)

        That law also applies to original creditors now. I'm no expert, but I did recently take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class and he had a lesson on how to deal with debt collectors. They can contact relatives, but they can't mention that they are debt collectors, only that they wish to get in touch with you. I'm pretty sure she would have a legal basis for suing them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by magarity (164372)

          That law also applies to original creditors now. I'm no expert, but I did recently take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class and he had a lesson on how to deal with debt collectors. They can contact relatives, but they can't mention that they are debt collectors, only that they wish to get in touch with you. I'm pretty sure she would have a legal basis for suing them.

          No, the FDCPA does not apply to original creditors. Here is the link to the FTC's page where you can read the whole act: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpajump.shtm [ftc.gov] I don't know who Dave is, and if he's taught you about collectors then he's correct but he's mistaken if he told you the FDCPA applies to creditors. Maybe he is thinking of some other piece of legislation or you misheard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by meerling (1487879)
      Yes, I agree with you, I believe that activity is clearly against the Federal laws and regulations regarding debt collection. (ianal) As to your situation, it's not necessarily over, check the statute of limitation on debts in your state. Then tend to range from 5-8 years, and it's possible that the collector was already past that point and is still trying to collect.
      As to the (un-named) third party you contacted, for as far as I know, it could have been the collectors brother-in-law. Don't go by the state
    • Sounds like they contacted her family members or co-workers through Facebook notes, so it doesn't look as bad as posting it to the wall, but still - bringing up that they are a debtor is like you said, usually against the law.

      I also had some 'debt collection agency' call me about my phone bill, from months prior. They seemed very pushy that they could "Get it sorted out real easily over phone" - meaning they wanted my credit card number.

      I don't really understand the whole debt collection business, but I wou

      • by pcolaman (1208838) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @02:11PM (#34257148)

        Working for a major financial institution (disclaimer: while I am not going to identify said FI, what I say in no way is a representation or an opinion of the FI itself, but only personal opinion of myself based on experience), I have seen a lot of fraud occur this way. The typical scam going around is that someone calls you, says they are collecting on a debt and that they will soon be initiating legal action against you and it can be easily avoided by paying a percentage and then that they will clear it off the books and erase it permanently from your credit report. Then they ask for your card# (and if they are really bold, they'll ask for the CVV2 code on the back of the card) along with the expiration, and then proceed to create a cloned card and rack up as many fraudulent charges as possible before the bank suspects fraud and shuts the card off. It's become so common that when I see certain transactions, I know what has happened before the person I'm talking to has even said that they had someone call them up in this manner. To be quite honest, debit and credit card fraud is at a very high level currently.

    • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @01:13PM (#34256206) Journal

      If you're wondering about my $180, I contacted them immediately. After getting all my current information so they could commence harassment, they told me to log onto some third party site and contest it. I did. Three weeks later I got a judgment: REMAINS. I was informed that, short of litigious action, that was the extent of my rights in that situation.

      I had my own encounter with debt collectors after some medical stuff (it’s nearly impossible to keep all those bills straight – you get the bill from the emergency room. and the hospital. and the doctor. and the weekend doctor. and ... they can’t combine them to make it simple, apparently).

      Don’t talk to the debt collectors. Run like hell. They don’t care about you. They just care about the commission they get.

      Find out who owns the debt and how to contact them. The collection agency has to tell you this. Contact them. Cut the debt collector out of the loop completely. And I do mean completely. Deal directly with the party who claims that you owe them something; once you settle the account with them, they will notify their debt collector that the debt has been canceled.

      In my case it was a bill I’d overlooked; in your case, it might just be a mistake somewhere. But you’ll find out a hell of a lot more from whoever hired the debt collection agency than you’ll find out from the collection agency itself.

      • by StormReaver (59959) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @05:34PM (#34260880)

        1) When the debt collector calls, find out whom they are representing.

        2) Tell the debt collector to not call back, as you will deal only with the original creditor. Debt collectors usually get paid for debts they successfully collect. If they don't collect on behalf of the original creditor, they probably won't get paid at all. If you feed the dogs, they'll never die.

        3) The debt collector will try to convince you that you must pay the debt to them. This is usually false. Unless the debt collector has bought the debt from the original creditor, you don't owe them a dime. Tell them to fuck off, and then deal directly with the creditor (assuming you want to pay the debt at all).

        Many years ago, someone in my family got into a stupid debt situation with his college loans. The debt collector kept pestering him via phone, usually resulting in loud yelling heard throughout the house.

        Having had enough yelling over the course of a week, I took the next call. I got the name of the creditor from the debt collector, and told him not to call again; I was going to pay the bill for the family member, and was going to pay the college directly.

        The debt collector said that I had to pay them, and I told him that I did not. I said I have to pay the college, not some piss-ant with a attitude problem. After a little back and forth, I told him to piss off and never call back. I said that if he called me, I would file a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act complaint against him and his company.

        I paid the debt to the college, and never heard back from the debt collector.

    • by nomadic (141991)

      I know collection debt law Is hazy as it varies from state to state and sometimes even has caveats internal to cities themselves but I thought there was a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [wikipedia.org] to protect consumers from crap just like this. I'm not a lawyer and Wikipedia's not exactly the foremost authority on the law but:

      Communication with third parties [cornell.edu]: revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumer's spouse or attorney) (Collection agencies are allowed to contact neighbors or co-workers but only to obtain location information; disreputable agencies often harass debtors with a "block party" or "office party" where they contact multiple neighbors or co-workers telling them they need to reach the debtor on an urgent matter.)

      And if they posted something on your wall, that could fall under a number of these laws. Hell, if you consider 'Facebook' an embarrassing media:

      Contact by embarrassing media, such as communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card, or using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business

      And if the debt collection's profile wasn't MARKONE DEBT COLLECTOR I'd be looking at that sort of shadiness as well. Having been the subject of a mysterious $180 debt collection put on my credit report over six years after they allege it happened in 2003 with no attempts to contact me until two months ago, I implore this woman to seek more than just a court order against MarkOne but instead to get the law amended now that social network websites are prevalent. They are a new form of contact medium that exposes far more information than the phone book and the current laws should apply or be updated minimally to reflect this. If you're wondering about my $180, I contacted them immediately. After getting all my current information so they could commence harassment, they told me to log onto some third party site and contest it. I did. Three weeks later I got a judgment: REMAINS. I was informed that, short of litigious action, that was the extent of my rights in that situation.

      If you're wondering about my $180, I contacted them immediately. After getting all my current information so they could commence harassment, they told me to log onto some third party site and contest it. I did. Three weeks later I got a judgment: REMAINS. I was informed that, short of litigious action, that was the extent of my rights in that situation.

      Why would you log onto a third party site for a patently fake proceeding? You contest it with the credit rating agencies.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)
      And if they posted something on your wall, that could fall under a number of these laws.

      According to the original article, the company "contacted" her sister. What does "contacted" mean? Did they send a message to the sister saying "we need to talk to your sister, do you have her phone number?" (legal). Or did they say "your screwball sister is running from her debts, we are going to sue unless you help us get our money"? Since we don't know, it's hard to judge, isn't it? There was nothing about them writ

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Debt collection law is valid, IF the bill collectors are in the US. However, a lot of them are in India, where they can happily call someone up at all hours, call their friends, call their managers, call their neighbors, or their kids's schools saying that Johnny's parents are failing in their duties as a child rearer because they are deadbeats.

      Just host offshore, and the $1000 per violation of the FDCA means nothing.

  • These jackasses know no bounds. Somehow a debt collector got my number thinking I was someone else and wouldn't top calling. Finally I had the phone company block the number because they wouldn't stop calling.
    • by eleuthero (812560)
      and it is now even easier for those of us who otherwise have to pay a fee to block numbers--Google Voice FTW.
    • by hldn (1085833)

      a well known fraudulent debt collector sent me a letter claiming i owed ~$600 for an old phone bill. i replied via registered letter that this was a fraudulent claim and they were fully aware as such and that i had also sent copies of our correspondence to my state attorney general and that any further attempts at contact by them would result in legal action. never heard from them again.

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        "a well known fraudulent debt collector sent me a letter claiming i owed ~$600 for an old phone bill. i replied via registered letter that this was a fraudulent claim and they were fully aware as such and that i had also sent copies of our correspondence to my state attorney general and that any further attempts at contact by them would result in legal action. never heard from them again."

        I know a guy that use to do this. You'd be surprised at the number of people that would just write a check. He spec
  • Easy Solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by Itesh (1901146)
    A. Pay your debts
    B. Go to your account settings in Facebook so that people can't mine all this information about you. Pass this tip along to your family and friends.
    • Re:Easy Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cobrausn (1915176) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @12:49PM (#34255840)

      A. Pay your debts
      B. Go to your account settings in Facebook so that people can't mine all this information about you. Pass this tip along to your family and friends.

      C. Delete Facebook Account.

      • by PitaBred (632671)

        I like Facebook because it makes it easy for me to keep in touch with family I wouldn't otherwise have a lot of contact with. Why would I want to delete my account? Maybe I should get rid of my phone, and Internet service, and any kind of contact information while I'm at it?

        • Re:Easy Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @02:01PM (#34257004)
          I like Facebook because it makes it easy for me to keep in touch with family I wouldn't otherwise have a lot of contact with.

          Yes, email is SUCH a hard concept to master.

          Why would I want to delete my account?

          I don't know. Maybe because it opens you up to publishing personal and private data in an essentially public medium?

          Maybe I should get rid of my phone, and Internet service, and any kind of contact information while I'm at it?

          If you can't handle email, then yes, maybe.

          • by chainsaw1 (89967)

            I think you missed a point. It's not that you have to master other communications, it's that everyone else you're trying to stay in touch with _also_ has to master these connection methods. The communication is just an interface.

            #1 is easy, #2, not so much

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DaFallus (805248)
            Ok, please point me to a service where I can search for people's email address by name or location...

            People obviously prefer Facebook over regular old email for a reason. Just because you don't use or even like a particular service doesn't make you any less of a condescending asshole when you completely write them all off as morons because they don't see things your way.
          • Re:Easy Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

            by PitaBred (632671) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @07:07PM (#34262366) Homepage

            Don't be stupid.

            Email is not a hard concept to master, but it's a push communication. Facebook is pull. If I want to look at everyone's pictures I can. Otherwise I can ignore them without having to download or manage them in any way from my end.

            Facebook may open my personal and private data on a public medium, but guess what... I choose what to put on there. I understand completely that it's a public medium, and I don't really care. Not for the stuff I post. But I am aware of that... if I wasn't, well, that'd be another issue.

            The point here is that you're just pissed off at Facebook for... well, I don't know why. Did Mark Zuckerberg kick your dog or something? And you're advocating that we keep riding our damn horses because they work, instead of moving on to cars or trains. Sure, my car won't come when I call it, or be fueled by grass, but the benefits of a car over a horse are obvious for anyone that's ever dealt with both.

            Same with Facebook and email. Get over yourself.

        • Facebook may make it easier, but it IMHO it demands a hell of price, payable in lost privacy, in return. There are other, more private ways, to keep in touch with your family and friends besides Facebook. How about a phone call now and then (people like your grandmother really appreciate that) or an exchange of emails? You can keep all of your friends and family members as contacts organized in your favorite local email or messaging app without sharing everything with some big third party corporation that i
        • by Jaysyn (203771)

          Maybe I should get rid of my phone, and Internet service, and any kind of contact information while I'm at it?

          I'd be ok with that.

    • Of course, debt collectors never go after the wrong people and they never make mistakes. Wait until you get harassed by a debt collection agency for a debt you don't owe then let's see if you spew out the same 'advice.' And yes, it's happened to me. I eventually cleared my name but it was a pain in the ass.
  • I got back to the country after six months to find two dozen garbled voicemails from a debt collector. My voicemail message stated that I was out of the country and could be reached at a certain e-mail address. It turns out the hospital had misfiled a claim and the insurance providers contract with that hospital required that claims be filed properly within six months. The hospital ate it, but not before I went through weeks of torture. Try explaining to a debt collector over the phone that the bill was a m
    • by hsmith (818216)
      I have a friend that had something worse happen. Someone with the same name as him stole some golf clubs, had charges pressed, etc. The debt was sold to a collection agency.

      The collection agency, of course, didn't do their homework and submitted the information to EVERYONE in the area that shared the same name (fairly common name) - so a good 10 people.

      Yes, they messed up the credit of 10 people because they were lazy.

      So, he has had to jump through hoops to get his credit fixed, because of some laz
      • by scubamage (727538)
        Just an FYI should something like this ever happen, upon the first contact from the debt collector you have to request a validation of debt (which includes the exact amount of debt, and the signed contract between you and the biller). They have to comply. During the time it takes for them to supply this, they are forbidden to contact you. If they do, take note of the exact time and date that the contact occurs. Each occurrence of a breech is punishable by up to 1000$ in fines.
    • Ignore the debt collectors, deal with the debt-holder. Once you straighten things out with the debt-holder, their collections agency will be notified without you needing to talk to them at all.

      I had a somewhat similar situation, so I speak from a little experience.

    • by davev2.0 (1873518)
      But, that does not apply in this case. And, it sounds like you are partly at fault as you didn't keep up with your business in your home country.
  • I can see why embarrassing someone with the goal of shaming them into paying their debts may be an effective tactic, but this may not be technically illegal.

    It's illegal to discuss the nature of the debt but you are allowed to contact other people to try to "locate" that person. Saying "I'm with MarkOne Financial, do you know how I can reach this person who it says is your sister" is probably legal, saying "Did you know your sister hasn't paid her car payment in 6 months" is not.

    TFA leaves out the important
  • This is why there are "privacy" settings on Facebook. This person probably had their profile open to everyone and allowed anyone to see their friends list. It wouldn't take too long to locate someone with the same last name.
  • Personally (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) *

    I think this style of approach should be perfectly allowable, but it should be regulated because one can obviously go too far. Not sure what form this regulation would take.. maybe some kind of government run website where people not paying their bills are listed.

    Personally on the whole financial debt/credit issue.. I think both sides need a good dose of reality.

    You have banks which specifically target and hope for people to get into crippling debt, because this is how they make their money.

    You have consume

    • by metlin (258108)

      Well said. I strongly recommend watching Maxed Out [maxedoutmovie.com] -- great documentary on the current state of debt in the US.

      One of the points made by the movie is that credit card companies love folks who've already filed for bankruptcy for two reasons -- one, they cannot file for it again; two, they have learned the hard way that they cannot live beyond their means.

      That said, I think that credit cards and debts are just easy traps. Unless you've had a good reason (to your point, medical expenses for example), you shoul

      • by gblackwo (1087063)

        Or -- strange as this may sound -- renting one for life because you do not make enough to buy one. No one is entitled to anything.

        \ If you can afford to rent for life, you should be able to be making house payments instead of rent payments. Then you are investing and not throwing your money in a hole- then for those poor at saving, at least they have something to retire on.

      • by Anrego (830717) *

        I almost think credit should only be allowed for specific items. You shouldn't be able to credit a stereo or the jacket you mentioned. If it's something you don't really _need_.. wait till you actually have the money.

        I think there are exceptions though. Houses being the big one. No one wants to wait until they are 60 to buy a house. We want it now, and are willing to pay a rediculous amount of extra money over the long run. Personally I find it preferable to pay ever month to a mortgage than to rent.. becau

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anrego (830717) *

          Quick addendum:

          Here's a simple trick I use when I am tempted to spend money - I just buy stocks instead.

          I actually do the same thing. Except instead of stocks I move it into my retirement savings. Once it's in there, it's a hassle to get it back out. I generally do this shortly after getting paid. If it's not there.. I'm not tempted to use it!

          That said, I think it's important to spend money on stuff that brings you happiness _right now_. Those stocks or my savings are useless if I get hit by a ostritch or something. As long as it's within your means and you are putting away for later.. dropping

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          The issue I have with the current financial industry, and the whole lending infrastructure, is the dependence on prior debts as the basis for assessing risk:

          EG, If you DON'T own and use a credit card, or have several lines of credit with your banking institution, your credit score looks just as bad as the repeat bankruptcy offender with a credit report a mile long filled with unpayed debts in collections, because there is no history from which to measure your "risk."

          Essentially, you HAVE to carry debt of so

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anrego (830717) *

            Indeed.. I totally agree that this needs to be fixed.

            Your history of _not_ being in debt and annual income should be more important.

            I actually use my credit card on a regular basis when making online purchases.. I just pay it off immediately. I don't put anything on it unless I have the money actually sitting in my bank account. This practically turns my credit card into a debit card.

            You also get all those benifits they use to suck people in.. while not making them a dime (and infact, probably costing them

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bjourne (1034822)

        I'd say that at any point in your life, you shouldn't have more than 5% of your annual income in debt. You don't need that brand new car -- you can buy something affordable, and pay cash. I know buying a home is the "American dream", but how about saving up for it, managing your finances well and buying something you can afford? Or -- strange as this may sound -- renting one for life because you do not make enough to buy one. No one is entitled to anything. Here's a simple trick I use when I am tempted to spend money - I just buy stocks instead. So, if I see a nice jacket that I like that costs $200, I just buy stocks for $200 instead. So, now I'm out of my discretionary spending, and I just invested more money. Happiness all around.

        You buy stocks instead of clothes? Because you think everyday people waste their money on useless junk, like you? Not everyone can be a fortunate son like you. Your numbers are so out of touch with reality it isn't even funny. You can't buy a home anywhere in the world without incurring a debt that is many times your yearly salary. In my case, it was 5 times it because I'm making fairly good money and the apartment is small. In basically every city in the whole world there is a shortage of rentable apartmen

    • The real question is where do you draw the line between shaming/notification and blackmail/extortion?

      The line between "Pay up or we'll let your Facebook friends know you are a worthless bum who can't pay their bills" and "Pay up or your boss will find out something you may or may not want him to know; we also offer fine (protection) services." really isn't that thin in this day and age.

  • Wow, this motivated me to look up Debtor's Prison in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debtors'_prison [wikipedia.org]

    The content surprised me; I thought that this practice disappeared around the time of Charles Dickens. Bad publicity on Facebook pales in comparison to this:

    • US - It is still possible to be incarcerated for debt, though this may be unconstitutional unless the court finds that the debtor actually possesses the means to pay
    • Greece - Imprisonment for debts, whether to the tax office or to private bank
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nomadic (141991)
      In the US you can't be directly incarcerated for debt; you can, however, be incarcerated for refusing to obey a court order that you pay the debt, which courts don't usually order unless the judge is convinced you have the money.
  • I've been receiving mail for 4 years for the previous occupants of my house and getting phone calls for 2-3 for the previous owners of my phone number from debt collectors. What recourse do you have when these guys screw up because your name is John Smith and your a slightly obese farmer in Oklahoma who happens to resemble another couple dozen guys in your city with the same name?

    • What recourse do you have when these guys screw up

      Very little, unfortunately. In fact, less recourse than you’d have if you were the droid they were looking for.

  • I'm not sure why she is suing on behalf of her relatives. Wouldn't it be more logical (and stronger from a legal perspective) for her relatives to sue the collection agency for harassment?
  • ugh. why does this pose a problem to people?

  • If the info is true, then you are out of luck. The problem is that collection agencies often work with inaccurate information, especially if it has been outsourced.
  • by pem (1013437) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @03:01PM (#34258226)
    To all those who have posted, essentially, that whatever debt-collectors do is "justified" -- fuck off and die. Slowly.

    Seriously.

    I have owned my current house for 11 years. A few months ago I started getting calls on my landline for debts incurred by one of the previous owner's kids.

    The kid hasn't lived here in over 10 years. The kid never had my telephone number.

    The scummy debt collectors cross-referenced an old address to a phone number, completely ignored the directory information on the number, and started harassing me mercilessly.

    It took many weeks to get them to understand that I was perfectly serious about taking them to court if they didn't lay off.

  • by IrquiM (471313) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @04:39PM (#34259976) Homepage
    But I'm glad I live in a country where this would be illegal
  • FDCPA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theurge14 (820596) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @06:44PM (#34262012)

    I work at a collection agency. This breaks all sorts of FDCPA laws, especially about releasing information to 3rd parties.

    This agency will get audited very soon.

  • by Tanman (90298) on Wednesday November 17, 2010 @06:51PM (#34262098)

    Once when moving out of an apartment, I had the manager come in on the day I moved out after the apartment was empty. She and I went through the whole apartment and did the evaluation for how much of my deposit I would be getting back. The end result was that I was going to get back all of my deposit minus the small fee for cleaning/whitewashing/whatever that happens.

    Fast forward two months -- I get a call from a debt collector wanting me to pay money to the apartment complex. Well, being as I was expecting a check back from them, and this was the great state of California, my response was this:

    "I am due a refund of X dollars from the apartment complex. I have this in writing and signed by the apartment manager. Their refund is now past due, as California state law allows the apartment complex only 30 days for the ex-tenant to receive their money. As such, if I do not have a check in my hand by the end of the week, I am contacting the CA housing authority as well as the sheriff and going after both of you for failure to pay, harassment, and fraud."

    She apologized profusely, and in 3 days I had a check in my hand with the full amount owed to me. Woo-hoo!

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