Hey, um, “Zoran,” if you owe money to Bank of America, can you give them a call because they seem to think you live at reader Kimber’s house and they are just not willing to accept that you don’t. Kimber says they call the house at “all hours of the day, during meal times and weekends” looking for you.
For the past several months, we have been receiving phone calls from Bank of America. We get calls at all hours of the day, during meal times, and weekends. Sometimes when we pick up, there is no answer, but for the most part, when someone is on the other end of the line, the caller asks for “Zoran”.
I have explained numerous times to Bank of America that no one at this address has ever been a BoA customer, that there is no one at this address named “Zoran”, and that I would like my number to be placed on a do not call list.
Several times, I have been assured that my number was placed on such a list, but the calls continue. Once, my husband answered and was told that the phone numbers are not displayed to the callers, so there is no way that we could have been placed on a list at all.
This morning, after receiving one of the dead line calls, I just received another call looking for this Zoran character. This time, I demanded to be given to a supervisor to deal with the situation. After several minutes on hold, I explained the situation, gave my number…and then the supervisor hung up on me!
I am really at the end of my rope here! Is there anything I can do to get these calls to stop? I’m ready to sue these bozos if necessary.
Are these calls from a debt collection department? If so, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act forbids harassing telephone calls, including to third parties. Not allowed:
Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
If they’re looking for Zoran, this is the section that covers that behavior.
Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall—
(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his employer;
(2) not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;
(4) not communicate by post card;
(5) not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communi- cation relates to the collection of a debt; and
(6) after the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to the communication from the debt collector.
So, in short, they are not supposed to keep calling you (provided this is a debt collection attempt), after you tell them you do not have the information they are looking for.
NOLO has a good article about what to do if a debt collector is crossing these lines. In it they say that you can sue such a debt collector in small claims court.
If you’ve been subject to repeated abusive behavior and can document it, consider suing the collection agency. But if the illegal behavior was merely annoying, don’t bother. For example, if the collector called three times in one day but never again, you probably don’t have a case.
To sue the debt collector, you can represent yourself in small claims court or hire a lawyer and go to regular court. (The other side may have to pay your attorneys’ fees and court costs if you win.)
On the other hand if this is just a crazy marketing attempt, you can file a complaint with DoNotCall.gov.
FDCP Act (PDF) [FTC]