AmEx Keeps Bugging My Coworker To Track Me Down

David owes a bundle to American Express, but wishes the company would keep the debt between them. Instead, he says AmEx is calling around on him, tracking down a coworker in order to harass David into paying up.

He writes:

I’m behind on my American Express charge card, I know I owe them money, I just don’t have it now, it’s been a tough time for everyone and now they are calling my co-worker looking for me.

American Express seems to log and store every number you call them on. Several months ago once called customer service from my co-workers cell phone while on a business trip. Now that I am behind on my payments, they have started calling his cell phone and every other number I have ever called them on.

I spoke with American Express I made a small payment, what I could, and reviewed my contact information with them to update their records. This however has not stopped them from calling the old numbers in their system which they said they removed. It is very embarrassing for me to have my co-worker harassed because of my actions, and for him to know I am in a financial crunch.

What can I do to guarantee that American Express stops calling other people looking for me?

The FTC has some information about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that may interest you. Particularly this part:

From the FTC:

How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me?

If a collector contacts you about a debt, you may want to talk to them at least once to see if you can resolve the matter – even if you don’t think you owe the debt, can’t repay it immediately, or think that the collector is contacting you by mistake. If you decide after contacting the debt collector that you don’t want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector – in writing – to stop contacting you. Here’s how to do that:

Make a copy of your letter. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. The creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.

Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt?

If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people – but only to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.

To report a debt collector that you feel is violating the FDCPA:

Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov). Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law.

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers [FTC]