Lawsuit: Debt Collector Harassment Contributed To Man's Death

When a Florida man suffered a heart attack, he needed to leave his job. Between everyday expenses and medical bills, he fell behind on his mortgage and other bills, and debt collectors began calling. And calling. And calling. Eventually, a lawsuit alleges, the stress from the harassing and abusive phone calls led to the man’s death. Frivolous lawsuit? Maybe not.

The Florida law firm Morgan and Morgan is looking to sue collection agencies that have made consumers’ lives miserable—including those who don’t owe anyone money in the first place. Tactics used by the worst collectors range from insults to racial slurs to calling debtors’ friends and relatives to report their deaths. No, really.

On one of Howard’s cases from July, he says, a debt collector called the best friend of a woman suggesting the friend had died. Ericka Cartagena of Winter Springs says her friend frantically called her brother, throwing her entire family into a panic when they couldn’t reach her by phone.

“Everyone thought I was dead!” said an angry Cartagena who, to this day, has no idea why the debt collection company called. She is making payments on a used car, but says she previously made all her payments on time.

She and her attorney believe the statement suggesting her death may have been a mistake, but is often a deliberate attempt by collection companies to prompt an immediate call back from unsuspecting family members.

That’s not just harassment, that’s verging on evil.

More recordings show pattern of debt collectors making abusive calls (via Walletpop – Thanks, Steve and SteveDave!)

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(Photo: bryanbope)