You Debtor Leave Me Alone

, , , , , | Working | January 2, 2019

(I keep getting phone calls from a number I do not recognize, but they leave no messages. After researching the number, I find it is a debt collection agency. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any outstanding debts — at least not bad enough to merit a debt collector — so I call back to find out what is happening.)

Collector: “[Agency], this is [Collector]. May I have your account number, please?”

Me: “Uh, I’m sorry. I don’t have an account number to give. I just keep getting calls from this number.”

Collector: “I can look you up by your social security number.”

Me: “I’m not comfortable giving that out over the phone. Can you use my phone number?”

Collector: “No.”

(Awkward silence.)

Me: “Oh. Uh, okay, then. I guess… Thanks for your help?”

Collector: *hangs up*

(I wait for the number to call again and this time, I answer.)

Me: “Hello?”

Collector: “I need to speak with [Not Me].”

Me: “I’m sorry, but there’s no one here by that name.”

Collector: “Is this [my phone number]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Collector: “I need to speak with [Not Me].”

Me: “You have the wrong number.”

Collector: *annoyed* “I need to speak with [Not Me]. It’s urgent.”

Me: “Well, you’re going to have to try another way because [Not Me] doesn’t own this number; I do.”

Collector: “How can I reach him?”

Me: “I don’t even know who that is, so I have no idea.”

Collector: “[Not Me] needs to call us back immediately.”

Me: “You need to stop calling me.”

Collector: *smugly* “We will stop calling once you pay off your debt.”

Me: “It’s not my debt!”

Collector: “Look. We can work out a payment plan or some kind of wage garnishment, but you need to pay or face legal action.”

Me: “I don’t have to do a thing. I want your supervisor.”

Collector: *hangs up*

Me: “Okay, then.”

(I blocked the number and reported them to the BBB. I doubt it actually did anything, but it made me feel a little better.)

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Collecting Reasons Why We Don’t Like In-Laws

, , , , , | Related | December 20, 2018

(A number I don’t recognize calls my phone multiple times a day but doesn’t leave a message. The next time they call, I answer.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, I’m [Caller] calling on a recorded line. May I speak with [Mother-In-Law]?”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. You have the wrong number.”

Caller: *defeated* “I’m sorry to bother you. Your number is in our database as a potential connection. Do you know [Mother-In-Law]?”

Me: “Yes, she’s my mother-in-law.”

Caller: *perks up* “Oh! Um, if you could please verify, I have [phone number] for her contact information. Is that correct?”

Me: “Yes, that’s her number.”

Caller: “Thank you. I’ll remove your name as a contact. Thank you for answering. We’ve been calling all the possible connections listed and no one else has answered except [My Husband] a few minutes ago.”

Me: “That’s my husband, yeah. Did you say we’re listed as contacts for her?”

Caller: “Well, when collection agencies can’t get ahold of the person in question, we have to branch out and look for potential relatives, someone who might be able to shed some light on why we can’t reach the person we want.”

Me: *laughing* “Oh, wait. You’re a collections agency? That’s why. She probably knows your number and is ignoring you.”

Caller: “Yeah, that happens a lot. Could you let her know we’re trying to get in touch with her?”

Me: “I can try, but no promises she’ll do it.”

Caller: “That’s all I ask. Well, I’ll let you go. Thank you again for your help. I promise we won’t call you again.”

Me: “No problem. Good luck!”

(A few days later I received a call from my mother-in-law.)

Me: “Hello?”

Mother-In-Law: “Why the h*** did you tell that collector my number?”

Me: “I didn’t.”

Mother-In-Law: “Well, they said they talked to you!

Me: “Yeah, they did, because you haven’t been answering.”

Mother-In-Law: “That’s none of your business! You’ve embarrassed me!”

Me: “I didn’t do anything. But you’re right: it is none of my business. I shouldn’t have collectors calling me to try to get ahold of you. That is your business and your problem.”

Mother-In-Law: “I’ve half a mind to make you pay these bills since you decided to give them my number.”

Me: “I didn’t give it to them and I’m not paying your bills. If you don’t want collectors calling, set up a payment plan or find a way to pay your bills on time.”

Mother-In-Law: *screeching* “THIS IS YOUR FAULT!”

Me: *hangs up*

(She ignores me whenever we’re together now. I don’t really mind that much.)

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They’ll Be Indebted To You

, , , | Related | June 8, 2018

(My mother has recently divorced my step-father.)

Man: “Hello, this is [Debt Collector Office]. I’m looking for Mr. [Ex-Stepdad].”

Me: *tired of explaining to every single caller* “Sorry, there is no one here by that name.”

Man: “Oh, isn’t this [my phone number]?”

Me: *sighs* “Yes, it is, but the man you are looking for doesn’t live here… anymore.”

Man: “Do you happen to have his contact details? I really need to get a hold of him. You know, he really is in huge debt, and it can cause a lot of problems if I can’t find him.”

Me: *now intrigued, as we never knew in how much financial s*** he actually was in* “Huge debt, you say?”

Man: “Yes, it really needs to be handled! Do you have any idea how to get a hold of him?”

Me: “Well, I don’t know his exact address, but he lives in [City] now. There are two under that name over there, as his father lives there, too, and he has the same first and last name, so you need to have [Ex-Stepdad] Junior. And do me one favour: make sure you find him. I’ll be laughing my a** off if he goes bankrupt.”

Man: “Don’t worry about that. Trust me, this debt is huuuuuge. Thanks a lot for the help! We might be able to find him now!”

Me: “My pleasure!”

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Making It A Matter Of Public Record(ing)

, , , , , | Legal | May 23, 2018

(When my husband was 18, he defaulted on a credit card in the amount of $500. Fifteen years later a company starts calling, trying to collect on that defaulted credit card in the amount of $12,000. They call him, me, my mom, my sister, his parents, his siblings, and his grandmother. Repeatedly, at all hours. They start telling him that if he doesn’t pay he will be brought up on federal charges and be a felon. They tell our family that he is a bad person who will go to jail for year. That if we don’t settle with them, they will push for the max penalty and he could go away for 10+ years. At first we think that this is a scam call. It’s scary how much information they have on us. When we look into them they turn out to be an actual debt collection agency. We both start taping the calls; so do my sister and two of my husband’s siblings. We all tell the company to leave us alone and stop calling. My husband and I tell them to either take us to court or leave us alone. After three months of this, we finally take them to court for harassment. This is one of the conversations that we have, to the best of my recollection.)

Their Lawyer: “You can’t use the recordings that your clients made. California requires all parties to be informed that they are being recorded.”

(Our lawyer presses play on one of the recordings:)

Employee From The Company: “This is [Employee] calling from [Company]; is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes.”

Employee From The Company: “Just so you know, this call is being recorded for legal purposes…”

(Our lawyer stops the recording:)

Our Lawyer: “Sure sounds like everyone was aware the call was being recorded.”

Their Lawyer: “But they weren’t actually recording the calls.”

Our Lawyer: “Well, maybe they should stop lying to people, and then they wouldn’t be here today.”

(They settled out of court, which was to pay our legal fees, “settle” our account so they couldn’t sell it to anyone else, a small amount of monetary compensation, and to never contact us or anyone in our family again.)

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Owe Dad A Debt Of Gratitude

, , , , | Working | February 26, 2018

(I have just turned 16 and I am looking for a summer job. Since I am looking for employment and am about to get my license, my parents decide to buy me my first cell phone for my birthday. I don’t give my number out to people except to my friends, relatives, and potential employers. One day I receive a phone call from an unknown number, and since the number has the same area code as my city, I assume it is an employer looking to schedule an interview, so I answer it.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Yes, I am looking for Mrs. [Stranger]?”

Me: “I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number. I don’t know anyone by that name.”

Caller: “I know it is you! You don’t have to lie!”

(I try explaining that I don’t know who this person is, and that I have only had this number for two weeks, but she interrupts me.)

Caller: “I am with [Debt Collector Company], Mrs. [Stranger], and before I can go any further, I need to tell you that this call is monitored for quality assurance and this is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information purposes will be used to collect this debt.”

Me: “But I’m not—”

Caller: *interrupting me* “Now, you owe an outstanding balance of [balance] to [Major Credit Card Company]. Would you like to pay with a debit card or send in a check?”

Me: “Neither. I don’t owe you anything. I am 16 years old, and I’m not even old enough to have a credit card!”

(My dad, who has been listening to the entire conversation turns and looks at me. On the other end of the phone, the debt collector is laughing at what I just said.)

Caller: “Oh, sweetie! This ain’t kindergarten! Hasn’t your mommy or daddy warned you not to charge thousands of dollars on a credit card and not pay them back? You can’t expect to go through life and have everything to be handed to you. Do you really think I’m going to believe you, Mrs. [Stranger]? You will pay the [balance] in the full amount today, or I will sue you for your unpaid debts.”

(Having had enough, I hang up the phone and explain to my dad what just happened. He tells me next time they call to give the phone to him and he will handle it. Within the next couple of minutes, the same debt collector calls, and I hand my phone to my dad. He tells the debt collector to stop calling my number and that I am, indeed, only 16 years old, and we know no one with the name she’s looking for. After 15 minutes of arguing with her, the debt collector transfers him to the supervisor.)

Supervisor: “Hello, Mr. [Stranger]. This is [Supervisor] speaking. I understand you’re refusing to pay the debt your wife owes us?”

Dad: “Look, lady: you have the wrong number. Your employee called my 16-year-old daughter, has been harassing her to pay a debt that isn’t hers, and when my daughter told her she has the wrong number and she’s not the person you’re looking for, your employee told her that ‘this isn’t kindergarten’ and threatened to sue her. She doesn’t owe you anything. Now, either you can stop calling my daughter’s number, or I will report your company for harassment.”

(There was complete silence on the other line, and after a couple of moments the supervisor hung up the phone. They haven’t called back since!)

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