Question by Leigh: Does FDCPA apply? I’m harrassed by collector for debt of a stranger!?
This is a cross-post, I also asked in Law & Ethics…not sure if it’s “legal” so forgive me if it isn’t.
I am trying to find out how to deal with a very tenacious debt collector.
TWO YEARS ago, I switched cell phone providers (2 lines-1 for me, one for husband)…since the switch, I have been receiving calls from a debt collection agency for two people I assume are brothers or father/son…they always ask for or leave a message for “Tyler or Jason”. It wouldn’t be so bad, but my husband works nights, and it makes him insane when his phone rings an hour after he falls asleep and it’s this dang bill collector. He needs to leave his phone on so he can be reached by his employer in an emergency, believe me, we have already considered turning it off.
I have contacted them by phone and by letter at least a dozen times in the last 2 years asking them to remove my number. I know that NO bill collector would be without caller ID…can’t they see that I share neither a first OR last name with these people? I have even mailed them a copy of my cell phone bill letting them know that the number belongs to me (my name is on the bill, along with the phone number). When I have spoken to them on the phone, they ask me how to reach Tyler or Jason, since it’s not their phone. Honestly, I am completely fed up and ready to sue them, but do FDCPA guidelines on harrassment apply when I am not the person they are pursuing? Can I use FDCPA and go to small claims or do I need to get a lawyer and sue for harrassment? Any knowledgeable advice will be appreciated.
Slimick: But, can I sue under FDCPA when I am not the debtor that they are pursuing-or are they breaking a different law pertaining to harrassment?
Answer by Slimick
This is a common problem. Here’s how to solve it.
Send the collection agency a letter via Certified Mail + Return Receipt stating:
Per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I am requesting cease all verbal communications with me about this alleged debt.
Next time they call, read the following statement:
Pursuant to [your state] state law, this is to inform you that this phone call is being recorded. If you do not consent to being recorded, you need to terminate this call. Pursuant to [your state] state law, continuation of this phone call after officially being informed that it is being recorded implies consent to be recorded. This recording will be used to pursue Fair Debt Collection Practice Act violations in a court of law.
After you get the return receipt from the post office, each call they make to you represents a $ 1,000 fine under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. So if they call you 15 times after they received your certified cease communications letter, you could sue them for $ 15K in FDCPA violations. You could get a nice settlement out of this bad situation.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t the debtor….If a 3rd-party debt collector is making repeated contacts with you, the FDCPA applies
Add your own answer in the comments!