Help, I'm being harassed by a Collection Agency for someone else's debt
Help, I'm being harassed by a Collection Agency for someone else's debtPlease read entire thing before commenting, Thanks.
Okay, hereís the situation. I keep getting phone calls, 1 or 2 times a day from a Collection Agency named Gillum, Driskel, & Associates. They keep calling around 8:45 pm, and this just happens to be around the time that we are trying to put my 8 month old down for the night, and my 3 year old is already asleep. Itís extremely annoying, due to the fact that it isnít my debt. It is actually my mother in laws.
We have told them to call her on her cell phone numerous times, even given them her cell phone number. She doesnít live with us by the way. And she doesnít have a landline phone there.
So, hereís where it gets weird. Some will say for her to just pay the debt. Well, it goes deeper than that. 6 or 7 years ago, she was in a car accident, and is now 25% permanently disabled. She sued a LARGE automotive company that you know the name and won the case. She received a minimal settlement due to her not being greedy and only wanting to pay her medical bills. The lawyer worked out the deal, paid off her debts, and then paid her the remaining sum. Which wasnít that much. Due to continued medical bills that she didnít expect from that injury, she has used all the remaining money on her medical expenses.
Hereís the kicker. The lawyer never paid any of her bills and she didnít find out until a year and a half ago. He did this for numerous clients and made Millions off of them. As of right now, he is behind bars. His office has been closed, and I can only assume that he owns nothing. This was due to a group of the clients banding together and getting the evidence to bring him down and get him thrown in jail. My mother in law was not part of the suite, and knew nothing about it until recently.
So her bills were never paid, and she now has a collection agency after her. Well, my wife is talking to a guy, Mr. Marino from the Collection Agency today. And she explains to him that she doesnít live here and gives him the phone number. Iím not sure completely what happened at this point, but somehow, this guy upset my wife big time. He got all pissy with her, and demanded for her to pay the debt. Said it wasnít his fault that it wasnít paid, blah, blah, blah, and upset her pretty bad. I will find out what was said when I get back home, and Iíll update this with the info.
So we are going to be sending a certified cease and desist letter to Gillum, Driskel, & Associates, in Sarasota Florida at the following address:
Gillum Driskel & Associates
2285 Rose St
Sarasota, FL, 34239
He also got extremely upset when he found out that Jess wasnít going to pay the debt (since it wasnít hers) and got irate when he found out that she had called the 1-800 number:
1-800-432-3988, saying that he was paying for the call, and hung up.
So, my question is. Are we handling everything properly? Is there anything else that we can do to get them to stop calling us? My mother in law is seeking legal advice to see what she can do, because she doesnít have the money to pay the debt.
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I have no idea what to tell you, the way you are going about it is the only way i see possible. There isnt other legal actions you can take about this debt that the lawyer not your mother in law should owe? Contact a lawyer bro before this gets out of hand.
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It's called a job and he's( the debt collector) is doing his, Sounds like your doing all the right things, I think once the collectors can't get anything, they try the family members, thinking that they'll pay, probably sometimes they will, It's all part of big business, and any amount helps them,
I don't think you need a lawyer, because the debt isn't tied to you.
I get the Indian refinance calls all the time,tell them, the house burned down,
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It's almost standard procedure for collection agencies to do this but there is a fine line of being polite and harassment. I would continue your course of action and if they happen to call soon tell them that you have told the agency who to contact and not to bother you again or you will file a harassment charge against them. You'll also have phone records to verify this.
Collection is a bitch especially if it's not your's. If the person who the collection is against is still alive the must deal with them not you. Now if they were deceased then unfortunately they have the law on their side to pass the collection on to the next of kin.
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here is some information from Clark Howard, pretty much the smartest man when it comes to your money. Read this and learn, its all you need to know. Good luck!
Jan 22, 2004 -- What to do when contacted by collectors
People are having a tougher time paying their bills these days, so the number of calls Clark has received about debt collectors has risen. Even in the much more severe recession of 1991, Clark did not experience this amount of calls. And many people donít know their rights when it comes to bill paying, so they pay collectors money they donít owe. But letís say you do owe money. What are collectors allowed to do? There are strict limitations on collectors that you need to be aware of. It has nothing to do with whether you owe the money or not. And collectors will lie through their teeth to try and get money from you. One tactic is to tell you to write a post-dated check. Under no circumstances should you do this. They can run that check through as many times as theyíd like and draft as much money as they want. Secondly, if a collector contacts you, do not give him or her access to your checking account. You pay the bills you owe on your terms. If a collector is harassing you with phone calls, you have the right to tell that collector not to contact you ever again. What usually happens is youíll get a letter from a collection agency telling you what you owe within five days of the first telephone contact. The collection letter should have a reference number or account number on it and the amount of money you owe. Once you receive this letter, you should send the company the ďdrop dead letter.Ē Clark has a copy of this letter on his Web site, http://clarkhoward.com/topics/drop_dead_letter.html
Once youíve sent the letter, the agency can never contact you again. It doesnít mean you donít owe the debt; it just means that the agency cannot harass you. At that point, the only thing that can happen is an attorney can sue you. One exemption you need to know about is if the person calling you is from a bank. Under a special exemption from Congress, bank employees can do anything they want to you, aside from terrorizing or physically harming you. But almost always it will be a professional collector calling. And these people will lie through their teeth and tell you anything they want. Also, many collectors are on fishing expeditions, trying to find people who owe them money. If a collector sends you a letter, saying you owe money and you donít, make sure you send them a return letter explaining that you donít owe that money. Under law, if you fail to answer this letter within 30 days, you owe that money. If you fail to respond, you are seen as guilty until proven innocent. So, send a certified letter saying itís not your debt. And, make it clear that if there is any negative reference of this debt on your credit report, you will sue that company under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Collectors also go after people who have filed for bankruptcy, trying to get them to sign a reaffirmation act. This underhanded document means you will still pay the debt even though your credit and your good name have been ruined. You have no obligation to pay that debt, so donít.
I also would recommend Clark Howard's advice. Go to his website too. Good **** there.
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One error in the link to "Drop Dead Letter", it must be specific. This is the actual template an attorney would send on your behalf if you hired them:
123 any road
any city, state
RE: Do Not Contact Order
Case #: 123456
You are under notice to no longer contact us (your names) by phone, fax, email, IM, employer, friends, neighbors or any other means than USPS.
Sign and date.
Send it certified return recipt and fax as well to company. From that point on they cannot contact you other than letters through snail mail. If they do, note the time, date and persons name or employee number and report to your state's Attorney General for breaking the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Another rule of thumb - if a debt is older than 6 years there is no legal obligation to collect the debt by a collection agency. There is a specific time limit. If days before the 6 years is up and you do talk to a collection agency trying to convince them it isn't yours - the clock starts all over again. Deny it is the person they ask for then send a letter they have exceeded the six year period to collect on the debt. This may help your mother in law depending on how long the medical bills were incurred.