Robocalls from a collection agency

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Latest post 12-14-2009 3:19 AM by Taxagent. 11 replies.
  • 11-06-2009 4:30 AM

    Robocalls from a collection agency

    I am getting daily robocalls from a collection agency in Ohio.  The prerecorded message is from "Bill Jones" about a personal matter and a call back number.  I googled the call back number and found that the company is being sued by the attorney generals of Ohio and West Virginia.  http://blog.clev...  is a copy of the papers filed in July from Ohio.  I am not calling these folks back.  I did contact a consumer law group in PA online and spoke with the paralegal and was advised to log the time and dates of the prerecorded message and to get copies of our credit reports.  We are squeaky clean.  I think this is probably an attempt to find information about a third party. THe calls started in early September.  Since the prerecorded phone message does not include the name of the company, the purpose of the phone call or a human being to respond to the phone call as required by the FTC, I think these phone calls are in violation of FTC regulations.  I have filed complaints with the attorney generals of California and Ohio and the FTC.  I file a new complaint every couple of weeks as the phone calls continue.  The PA law group has NOT gotten back to me, but they do know about this company and they have clients suing them or have sued them.  Is there any thing else I can do?  Any help welcome.  I am also in favor of legislation to outlaw autodialers for all businesses except charity, nonprofit or emergency agencies like fire and police.  I have tried to get my congressperson involved, but all I got was a canned letter about how to file an FTC complaint.  I think my congressperson's staff never even gave him the letter.  Any other ideas out there?

  • 11-06-2009 10:37 AM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    Consultedalawyer:
    Any other ideas out there?

    Yeah.

    Call back and find out what it's about.

    I started getting calls like that a few years ago, also figured it was not about me, ignored the first couple, then called back and found out it was a collection agency looking for my stepson that I hadn't heard from in 15 years. Once I told them that, the calls stopped.

    My opinion, for the two cents it's worth, is that they aren't violating anything until you contact them and handle the contact in accordance with the FDCPA. Then, if the calls persist, you could have a cause of action that's worth some money to you.

    Read the FDCPA at:

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp...

    If you condinuing on your current path, you'll just aggravate yourself and nothing will change.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 11-06-2009 1:04 PM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    This happened to me. Every time I got a prerecorded call, I logged it. If you have an answering machine keep the recordings. My problem was that the collections company was looking for the previous owner of my telephone number. You must tell them to place you on their "Do Not Call" list. You should also register your number with the feds at donotcall.gov.

    After 13 calls I sued them under the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act and won. This is a easy win for lawyers if you keep a log. The fine is somewhere at $500 per violation, treble damages, and there can be several violations per telephone call.

    However, if you do owe them money then there are different guidelines.

  • 11-06-2009 2:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    Thank you for the advice, but these people are the scum on a cesspool.  I will NOT call them back.  I do not think that they have the right to use robocalls to leave a message to call back when they do not include the name of the company in the robocall itself and the purpose of the phone call.  You should read the blogs about people that HAVE called them back only to be yelled at, cursed, threatened, call liar, etc.  Now do you understand?

  • 11-06-2009 2:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    I am on the do not call list, but collection agencies are a whole other ball game.  The FTC is still taking comments about regulations on the whole industry through the end of the month and I commented that these type of phone calls should be illegal.  What is so frustrating with the feds is that it takes a BILLION complaints before they act.  At least the states seem to act more quickly.  If you see my reply to the other person who commented on my problem, you will see why I WILL not respond to the robocall as this company is at the bottom of a cesspool industry.  I do not owe anyone anything, but I can guess who they are trying to find.  If they want to send a letter or try a human call, I might respond.  I have gotten other calls from more respectable collection agencies about this person and they have not called me after I told them that I have not seen this person in about four years and this person owes us money too.  Those agencies contacted me in person and were very polite and professional.  The reputation of the company that is calling me is lower that the stuff left uneaten by buzzards.  The point is that I will not deal with these folks on their terms.  I think the robocalls are in violation of their industry rules.  Now if only we can get autodialers to be outlawed except for licensed, bonded and emergency agencies only.  They won't send a letter because it cost $$, but an autodialer hooked up to a computer and using a free long distance service doesn't cost them anything to continue to harass people like me.  This has got to stop.  

  • 12-06-2009 8:23 PM In reply to

    • orion22
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-01-2005
    • OK
    • Posts 94

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    Report them to the FTC (federal trade commission), go to their web site..to the right side of the screen you have a place were to report the RoboCalls.

     

  • 12-06-2009 10:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    I had the same problem. The collection company was placing robocalls asking us to call this number about a "business matter". We had (have - present tense) no outstanding debts. The actual debtor was a woman with my husband's last name and a feminine version of his first name. I do not use my husband's last name. (ie I'm married to Sam Doe and they wanted Samantha Doe.) He has no female relatives by that name.

    We changed our answering machine message to only state our phone number, not our names. "You have reached xxx-xxx-xxxx, please leave us a message."

    This went on for months.

    Then, the first collection agency must have sold the debt to another collection agency. I learned to recognize their number in the caller ID and would just click the phone on then off to cut off the call.

    One day I was expecting a legitimate call, so I answered the phone without checking the caller ID. It was a live human at the second collection agency. He asked for "Samantha Doe". I told him that there is no Samantha Doe at our number, that we know no Samantha Doe, there is no one in our family by that name, and that we were sick of getting collection calls for her. He immediately said "I'll take your number out of our records."

    We never got a single call from anyone again.

    I don't blame you for not wanting to call the collection agency. I sure did not want to call them when I had the problem. However, I must admit in all fairness that once I talked (accidentally on my part) to a live human, all calls stopped. 

  • 12-14-2009 12:54 AM In reply to

    • CGSmith
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 12-14-2009
    • MI
    • Posts 8

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    OK if your problem is that you simply want these calls to stop, it’s real simple.  Get the call back number and account number and call them.  When they answer, simply say “I’m calling about account number ---------“.  You will no doubt be transferred to a live collector and he/she will bring up that account number on the computer.  There first question on bringing up the account will be “Is this Mr./Ms ______________” If that is you, you may want to talk to them so it doesn’t go to your credit report.  If you don’t want to talk to them simply state “I am calling about account number ----------. It is inconvenient for me to get calls at this number.  Please mark this account as ‘DO NOT CONTACT’’.  They will no doubt try to get your name and other information.  Simply say “do you understand that I have requested you cease contact?” I would repeat this question until they confirm that they understand then hang up.

     

    If you have the ability to do so, it would be good to record this conversation because if they ever call you back you can collect $1000.

     

    A few things to know about collection calls.  When they call, they can not leave the name of the company because this could allow a third party know it is a collection call.  The name they will leave will of course not be theirs, but most state requires collectors to list their phony name with the state agency.  I have been known to have a bit of fun with this when I get a real jerk.  At least in Michigan, they have to list their real name and address. You can call and get this information. I have been known to call one or two back- at their home- to discuss the account.

     

    The important thing is they can call until you tell them not to call. Once you inform them to cease contact, it is against the law for them to call anymore.

     

    Best of luck

     

    CGSmith

  • 12-14-2009 1:11 AM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    CGSmith:
    The important thing is they can call until you tell them not to call. Once you inform them to cease contact, it is against the law for them to call anymore.

    That is not entirely accurate. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, telling them orally to cease communications is not good enough. The request must in IN WRITING.

  • 12-14-2009 2:33 AM In reply to

    • CGSmith
      Consumer
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 12-14-2009
    • MI
    • Posts 8

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    It has been a long time since I wrote this question into a collection manager’s exam, and I don’t have the case law to support it off hand.  There is case law that supports a verbal cease contact request is valid.  As I recall, it was something like “if the collector has reason to believe…” But like I say I don’t have the exact case law anymore.  The other thing that is often misstated is the right to dispute a debt.  Most collectors are taught to tell debtors that the dispute must be in writing.  There is case law that clearly establishes that a dispute may be verbal, the disclaimer says that the request for proof must be in writing, but the dispute may be verbal.  Of course the big problem is PROVING you made the verbal request.

     

    If you are a collector, you should contact the ACA.  They will furnish you with the case law (if you don’t have access yourself).  The ACA defends suits and they will simply tell you to pay if you ignore a verbal request and it happens to be in your notes.

  • 12-14-2009 3:19 AM In reply to

    Re: Robocalls from a collection agency

    It may be that the laws of some states require that the collector must cease upon the oral request of the debtor. But the federal statute clearly imposes a requirement that the request be in writing to trigger the obligation to all cease contact. Section 805(c) of the Act states:

    "CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except—
    (1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector’s further efforts are being terminated;
    (2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or
    (3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.
    If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification shall be complete upon receipt."

    The debt collector cannot, however, contact the debtor at an unsual place or time (e.g. calling you a midnight) or at a time or place that the collectors knows or has reason to know is inconvienient to the debtor. See section 805(a) of the Act. Thus, if the debtor informs the collector that the debtor can't take personal calls at work, the collector is on notice that calls at work are at time or place inconvienient to the debtor and must not contact him there. This is probably the provision of the Act to which you are referring. But the scope of this is more narrow; it won't necessarily stop all communication from the collector. The written notice under § 805(c) will (if the collector follows the Act). Now, as a practical matter, it may be dificult to determine the exact reach of the prohibition of contact under § 805(a), and good business practice for a collector may be be to stop contacting the debtor once the debtor has made it clear he wants no more contact, even though the request is only oral.

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