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Vulgar voice mails force debt collector to pay $1.5 million


Slayer of the DP Newsbot
DP Veteran
Aug 27, 2005
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Houston, TX
Political Leaning
"This is your mother******* wake-up call you little lazy a** b****," a collector said on one. "Get your mother******* n****r ass up and go pick some mother******* cotton fields."

This is what a debt collection company was telling someone who owed money. Now the tables are turned. The debt collector is the one who owes the money to the person they were calling to collect money from.

And why not? There is absolutely no excuse for what they did. My only surprise is that someone did not end up in jail for making harassing phone calls.

So, what do you think? Is the judgment excessive, or is it proper?

Me? I say it is proper, and will send a strong message to other debt collectors that they cannot use these kinds of tactics without paying the consequences. These are tough economic times, and many people have legitimate reasons why they cannot pay their bills - Unemployment, underemployment, an illness, you name it. To treat them in this manner is reprehensible. If you are going to attempt to collect a debt, then by all means, do what is necessary, and see if you can find a way to get it settled. But do it according to the law - Any other way should never be tolerated. Period.


Article is here.
From what I've read, threats and harassment used to be common debt-collection techniques.
I've even heard that debt collectors used to threaten children who answered the phone, telling them that their mommy and daddy owed money and were going to jail if they didn't pay it.

Of course, these tactics are all illegal now; the tactics that are used are pretty ineffectual, however (and I say this from the perspective of someone who's been the target of debt collection for my entire adult life, having been medically uninsured for most of it).
For instance, I get near-daily form letters in the mail telling me that I owe money.
I throw them away unopened.
I also get near-daily debt-collection phone calls. It's just a recording. I hang up.
When it is an actual person, it's usually somebody who is calling from overseas, doesn't speak English very well, and can't pronounce my name. They are clearly just reading a script and couldn't care less whether I ever pay one red cent on my debt.

It's hard for me to imagine that these tactics have ever been successful in collecting money from anyone.
I don't even know why they bother. It must be costing them money- at least in postage.
I can't see how it's worth their while.
I think what this debt collector did was wrong and his punishment just. Debt collecting agencies act subhuman sometimes. We get calls and automated calls from debt collecting agencies wanting to talk to my uncle. All they are doing is wasting people's time and trying to milk a few bucks from people by scaring them. From my family's experience we get letters and calls from hospitals and agencies saying we owe money that was already paid to them. They drop the charge when they realize that we did pay them. I highly doubt they have their accounts unbalanced and inaccurate, I think they try to scare people into paying what they don't owe so they can pocket a few bucks.
Threats is wrong and illegal. I would prefer the business be shut down, and owners and the person who made the call be jailed. I'm not sure of the monitary fine. Seems that is what we do in America. Fine away. The question is how do you prove harm by being called motherxxx. I would have turned the business in and filed a complaint. Bottom line the business should be shut down.
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