When Debt Collectors Chase You for a Debt that Isn't Yours
What do you do when the person who owned a phone number or residence prior to you incurs debts, and the debt collector harasses you to pay for it? You sue them, of course.
Jerry Millwood of Port Arthur, Texas has filed a lawsuit against a debt collection company that repeatedly called him in an attempt to recover a debt from another person. Millwood alleges the company, Glass Mountain Capital, has violated his privacy.
According to the lawsuit, a person other than Millwood incurred a financial obligation to an original creditor and the debt was purchased by the defendant. Glass Mountain Capital allegedly contacted Millwood in an attempt to collect the debt by placing numerous telephone calls, the South Texas Record is reporting this week. According to Millwood’s statement, he called and informed Glass Mountain Capital on at least four occasions that it was contacting the wrong person and asked for the calls to stop. The telephone calls continued, at which time Millwood filed the lawsuit, which seeks remuneration for emotional distress, statutory damages, court costs, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
Glass Mountain Capital is being accused of violating the U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Texas Debt Collection Act, and invasion of privacy by intrusion into private affairs. Both acts require debt collectors to cease calling after they have been informed that they are contacting the wrong person.
So what do you do in the future if you’re harassed by a debt collector trying to collect from the wrong person? First, inform them that you are not the debtor. Even if they don’t believe you, they are required to stop calling, according to the Debt Collection Answers blog. If this doesn’t work, send the company a certified letter informing them of the mix-up and that you wish them to stop calling. Also, consider filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC (News - Alert).gov as well as your state Attorney General. (The company may be a serial offender already on the FTC and your AG’s radar.) If none of the above works, contact an attorney.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman