Reader Rachael wants to know if there’s any way she can get a harassing debt collector to stop calling her 3 times a day — looking for someone else who used to have her number.
My boyfriend and I moved into our apartment about two months ago. When we moved in, we were told by the property management that we had to cancel our RoadRunner service and sign up for an account with the local phone company, Cincinnati Bell, for our phone and internet. No big deal, we initially thought. We signed up, got our (slow) DSL connection and free-incoming-calls-only phone line (we did not sign up for a regular phone plan since we use Skype). The activation of that line is when the trouble started.
In the 2 months of having our phone line we have received more phone calls from debt collectors looking for the people who used to have our number, than I have on my cell phone over the past 4 months combined, and I love to talk! They always ask for either the husband or the wife, and push and try to harass me into “giving them a message” the next time I talk to them, no matter how many times I repeat to them that I do not know these people. I looked up my phone number and saw it listed with these people and sent them a letter nicely asking them to update their information with the people and companies they have associated with because I am so tired of these calls, but nothing has happened as of yet.
I am sorry if this seems rather long, but I am almost at wits’ end with all of these collection calls, and I just received another one while typing this out, bringing the total to 3 today. Is there any way to stop collectors from calling me for these people, or am I stuck wondering if I have to answer the phone to find a rude collector on the other end?
Any advice would be very much appreciated!
Well, what these debt collectors are doing is illegal, so the first thing you’ll want to do is start a journal and make a note in it every time they call you. If you can record the calls, do it. Make sure to write down their information and be as detailed as you can.
Inform the debt collectors that they are breaking the law by continuing to harass you over someone elses’ debt, and that you intend to file a lawsuit. In addition to the harassment, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also forbids the debt collectors from comminicating details about debt with a third party, which you most certainly are. So if they’re trying to get to you “deliver a message” about the debt, they’re breaking the law.
Hypothetically, that should clear it up. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to either change your number or consult a consumer lawyer in your area for advice. We have the feeling that consumer lawyers would be enthusiastic about representing you.
If you’re not interested in having some fun with our legal system, try changing your number. Some phone companies are sympathetic to customers who are receiving harassing phone calls and are able to waive the fee.