My husband's ex seems to owe everyone. We started getting calls in 2006 (even on my personal #) these have not stopped yet, there have been at least 46 different collection agencies and Verizon and Alltel . Every month we get bills that come in her name and recently Virginia College and UOP called about deliquent student loans. She says shes dying from lung cancer so how can she get student loan?.We also received a call from Portfolio Recovery recently. I have asked several collection agencies if our numbers and/or address is used on the applications and they have indictated yes. Is there anything we can do? What if she is using our phone numbers/address on credit applications? I've filed police reports and they wont do anything. She has been charged with welfare fraud though.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has been around for almost 35 years. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to every state. In other words, everyone is protected by the FDCPA. Its purposes are to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information’s accuracy. The FDCPA creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the FDCPA. The FDCPA is essentially a laundry list of what debt collects can and cannot do while collecting a debt, as well as things debt collectors must do while collecting a debt.
People should be aware that the FDCPA protects debtors and non-debtors alike. That is, everyone is protected by the FDCPA, even if you do not owe the debt. The Fourth and Eight Circuits, in Rawlinson v. Law Office of William Rudow and Dunham v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, recently held that whether or not someone owes the debt is immaterial for an FDCPA claim. The legislative history of the FDCPA supports this finding, too:
[The FDCPA] also protects people who do not owe money at all. In the collector’s zeal, collections effort[s] are often aimed at the wrong person either because of mistaken identity or mistaken facts. [The FDCPA] will make collectors behave responsibly towards people with whom they deal. Another group of people who do not owe money, but who may be deliberately harassed are the family, employer and neighbors of the consumer. These people are also protected by [the FDCPA].
If a collection agency calls you about a debt you do not owe, be sure to tell the collection agency that you do not owe the debt, and request the collection agency to stop calling you. Don’t simply hang up on the collector. You should put the collection agency on notice that you do not owe the debt, and therefore, request that the calls stop.
Most consumers harassed by debt collectors probably think it’s impractical to hire a lawyer to fight a collection agency. If a consumer cannot afford to pay their bills, then how would a consumer have money to hire a lawyer to fight a collection agency. However, consumers harassed by debt collectors do not have to pay attorney’s fees and costs. The collection agency pays your attorney’s fees and costs. A debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of the FDCPA is liable for any actual damages sustained, punitive damages, and statutory damages up to $1,000.00. The FDCPA has a fee-shift provision. This means, the collection agency pays your attorney’s fees and costs.
I have settled over 1,500 debt collection harassment cases. Agruss Law Firm, LLC, will you help stop the harassment and get you money damages. Plus, the collection agency will pay your attorney’s fees and costs—you won’t pay us a dime.
Information on Avvo should not be construed as legal advice, as each case is different. For information about your specific case, please contact a consumer law attorney, or contact me at www.agrusslawfirm.com
I am sorry to hear about the harassment that you are suffering. Yes, there is something you can do.
Ohio law, in additional to the federal FDCPA, protects consumers from such unfair tactics from collectors. My firm assists consumers throughout the state who are being plagued by unfair collection practices. Please visit my website www.OhioConsumerHelp.com and contact my office for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.
All the best to you.
NOTE: This Answer does not constitute legal advice. Every case is fact specific. To render a legal opinion, an attorney must engage in a consultation with a prospective client and review any pertinent documents. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship with Attorney Amy L. Wells or WELLS LAW OFFICE, INC.
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