Debt Collector Sends Verizon Collection Notice To A Fluffy White Dog

You may think this dog is cute, but that’s bullshit. This dog is a deadbeat that doesn’t pay its Verizon bill.

Meet Andy Fanelli. He’s a Lhasa Apso who apparently doesn’t have enough personal responsibility to pay his debt to Verizon. Sure, Andy’s owners, Steve Fanell and Shawn Donovan, say that Andy has never been a Verizon customer, but should we believe them?

From KCRA:

“The point is that Andy has never had a Verizon account. We were just curious why this showed up,” Steve Fanelli said.

KCRA says the debt actually belongs to another Andy Fanelli who lives on the east coast. So how did the bill end up at the wrong Andy’s doorstep? Well, it’s probably because Andy has his very own American Express Card.

“It’s an active card. From time to time I take my girlfriends to lunch on Andy,” Donovan said. The dog’s debt has been canceled by Verizon, but it seems there are lots of complaints (to the Illinois Attorney General and posted online) about the debt collector, AFNI, trying to collect outdated or incorrect debts. AFNI says that it is diligent about debt verification.

$142 Collection Bill Sent To Couple’s Dog [KCRA](Thanks, Anna!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dogs identities are being stolen by their owners now!?!

  2. battra92 says:

    Somehow I am more outraged at the fact that this guy has a credit card in his dog’s name. Isn’t that fraud?

  3. Parapraxis says:

    delinquent dogs. why can’t they pay on time like gerbils and chinchillas?

    at least they’re not as lazy as cats. Sit around all day ordering catnip off the home shopping network…

  4. It’s funny…I guess…but couldn’t he run into other problems by having an active charge card for his dog? Also he really shouldn’t complain or be surprised by this, seeing as how the dog has the charge card.

  5. MissTicklebritches says:

    That dog looks like Nick Nolte’s mug shot.

  6. How did Andy get the credit card? Every application I’ve ever seen requires a social security number to process. Unless she’s added Andy as an additional card holder, which means that Verizon is really grasping at straws when they use contact information from a telemarketing list to track down their former clients.

  7. evslin says:

    Sure, Andy’s owners, Steve Fanell and Shawn Donovan, say that Andy has never been a Verizon customer, but should we believe them?

    Absolutely not. These guys are trying to game the system! Somehow.

  8. thebluepill says:

    Perhaps the Amex Card comment is sarcasm?

  9. ekthesy says:

    Looks like one o’ them long-hair-ded hippie-type pinkos to me.

  10. smythe says:

    @JamieSueAustin: I was wondering how the dog got a social security number as well.

    And then WHY would you get your dog a charge card, and how does he sign the bill?

  11. Audiyoda says:

    AFNI diligent about verifying debts? That’s a load of bull. They’ve tried a number of times to get me or my wife to pay non-existent debts with companies we settled with years ago when we were having financial difficulties. We’d made settlement agreements with a number of companies for less than we owed – and each company discharged our debt and listed us as paid with zero balance with each credit reporting company. But every now and again either I or my wife will get a collection letter from AFNI regarding a debt with a company we’d long settled with for the amount of the difference between what we originally owed and what we settled for. AFNI is one of those companies the FTC should shut down for good.

  12. Jabberkaty says:

    I knew I was a cat person for a reason.

  13. B says:

    I, for one, don’t think that dog is cute.

  14. FatLynn says:

    You can get an additional card on your account with any name you’d like. You can get a card for Santa Claus, for all AmEx cares, as long as you (and your SSN) are responsible for the bill.

  15. SkokieGuy says:

    I resent ‘fluffy’ in the title. Consumerist, you continue to add inflamatory descriptives to your headlines.

    Are you saying that dogs that are not fluffy are somehow more fiscally responsible? A pug is better credit risk than a poodle? Your smug fluffphobia is disappointing.

    In 2008 can’t we simply celebrate canine furry diversity from afghans to bichons?

  16. SkokieGuy says:

    My weiner dog, although a bit of a fashionista, carries no long term debt.

  17. ThyGuy says:


  18. Bagels says:

    @MissTicklebritches: Swung on and belted!

  19. Nepkarel says:

    Kinda odd that someone can get a cc in their dog’s name. Shows again how broke the system is. As a person I have been denied a cc because of lack of credit history, but this does not go for dogs apparently. Well, 5/3 bank, you have treated me worse than a dog.

  20. @Audiyoda: AFNI has a call center right here in town … diligent isn’t the word I’d apply.

  21. Sugarless says:

    I never had a Verizon account either, yet they still managed to sell TWO debt collection agencies information saying I did.

  22. realjen01 says:

    @SkokieGuy: my pug is way more fiscally responsible than a poodle. never trust a poodle…

  23. Zeniq says:

    So… how exactly is the dog’s owner, who I am guessing has a different name than the dog, is able to legally place charges on a card that does not have his/her name on it? Is this not fraud?

    Maybe taking the girls to lunch “on Andy” is not a good idea.

  24. o0beaner says:


    You can get a card with anyone’s name on it as a secondary cardholder, without submitting their SSN.

  25. picardia says:

    I assume that Andy is a secondary cardholder. It’s very weird, but OTOH, as these guys appear to use it merely as a joke and apparently pay Andy’s debts, it seems harmless. Wonder if Amex would be as amused, though.

  26. goodywitch says:

    I can’t be the only one who thought of The Simpson’s episode where Santa’s Little Helper got a credit card.

  27. GirlCat says:

    Man, my cat is pissed. I told her she couldn’t get a cc until she got a job.

  28. @picardia: I’m pretty sure even a secondary cardholder has to supply them with an SSN.

  29. trillium says:

    Ahhh AFNI – I have a letter from them and the registered letter I sent right back for an $800 Verizon bill in my hubby’s name from an address we never resided at. Verizon had no recollection of it either. After many phone calls and a registered letter I haven’t heard a peep from them. My amusement was them trying to collect on 9 yr old debt with on previous attempt to contact!

  30. RabbitDinner says:

    Geez, why does this have to be so sensationalized? The fracking dog had a card in his own name, courtesy of his lunatic owner! Still a mistake, to be sure, but when I first read the headline I thought they’d ship the clowns at Verizon off to the funny farm for sure!

  31. RabbitDinner says:

    or the debt collectors, rather

  32. Ringl says:

    @GirlCat: Hey, you just tell her that as long as she’s under your roof she has to follow your rules. Then threaten to make her an “outside” pet. She’ll straighten up.

  33. Teapotfox says:

    @goodywitch: Ah, yes… Santos L. Halper! “Occupation: Butt Doctor. Income: Whatever I finds, I keeps!”

    I was always tempted to fill out a credit card application that way, just to see what would happen.

  34. Johnyalamo says:

    I’m trying to visualize the dog signing a CC reciept without opposable thumbs.

  35. macinjosh says:

    @SkokieGuy: What about the notion that the dog is responsilbe because he’s white? :)

  36. macinjosh says:

    make that “responsible”

  37. Hey, I just got a Verizon “debt” letter from ANFI. I also have never been a Verizon customer. I called them up, they verified that the last 4 SSN digits didn’t match, and I didn’t hear from them again.

    I presume that they take the name of the person on their list and their city of residence and spam everyone with a similar name in the area.

  38. ShadowFalls says:

    @smythe: Haha silly, he signs with a paw print!

  39. B says:

    @smythe: He wrote “SEE ID” on the back of the card. For an ID, he uses his dog tags.

  40. mcjake says:

    I would never get my dog Sophie her own credit card. She is far too wreck-less and would just end up spending all the money on male hookers and blow.

  41. I blame the OP. Shouldn’t have had a dog in the first place.

    Oh.. yeah, those new comment rules. Whoops. ;)

  42. rockasocky says:

    I must say, the lead sentence about the dog being a deadbeat made me actually laugh aloud.

    However, that dog looks like a jerk. Look at him laying there, all snooty in his Hawaiian shirt, thinking he’s the s***. Just because his credit card probably has a higher limit than mine. Stop judging me, dog!

  43. TwoScoopsRice says:

    I’d like to say something witty, but all the good lines have been taken so I’m left with providing a fact.

    As of April, when we added our kids as secondary cardholders to an AMEX account, AMEX required SSNs for each kid and ran some sort of check while I was on hold with the CSR.

  44. spikespeigel says:

    Buh? How does a dog qualify for a credit card? I’m starting to see why the economy’s in the crapper.

  45. bohemian says:

    ANFI, I think that is the one that put a bogus Verizon debt on my credit report and sent me nasty notes until I sent them a letter demanding the provide proof of the debt. I still can’t get it off my credit report, Experian swears it is verified.
    I would love 5 minutes alone with the person who runs this company.

  46. katylostherart says:

    a) why does the dog have a credit card?

    b) why is the owner still allowed to charge things to it when it’s not his and not a human being’s card?

    c) ‘”It’s an active card. From time to time I take my girlfriend’s to lunch on Andy,” Donovan said.’

    from the article. DAMN I HATE APOSTROPHE MISUSE.

    (and the shift key)

  47. Gadgetgirl says:

    Well some kids grow up only to learn that (thanks to mommy and/or daddy) they have WAY past due utility bills. The fact that Fidos and Boo-Boo Kitties are receiving cards fraudulently doesn’t surprise me.

  48. Japheaux says:

    Just goes to show you Verizon is just another pile of Shih Tzu. I wonder if the Big 3 have Canine Credit Scores. Regardless, I ask you, what’s the difference between Deadbeat Andy and a Pit Bull humping your leg?

    The Pit Bull gets to finish.

  49. Smashville says:

    I’m fairly certain the dog credit card thing is a joke…

  50. Smashville says:

    @Smashville: Or…if I read the article…not. I guess if his name is on the card, but the bill is being sent to the correct people in the correct name…it’s not really a problem…I don’t know if it constitutes fraud if it’s the same account with an additional card with a different name…a good way to combat identity theft if it’s legal.

  51. My Bassett says that stud duty is an excellent job and he should be allowed to have his own CC.

  52. Sarah Bellum says:

    @MissTicklebritches: I like the way your mind works!

  53. ellastar says:

    @o0beaner, valarmorghulis: My boyfriend and I have the Costco AmEx card, one primary cardholder and the other the additional cardholder. When I applied, it asked for both of our SSNs. I don’t know if this applies to just that particular AmEx card though. However, on our WaMu card, I don’t remember being asked for the additional SSN, but it might have been there as well.

  54. LJKelley says:

    I know for a fact that certain banks such as Capital One, HSBC etc do not ask for the SSN of secondary card holders. So if indeed the dog does have a card thats probably how he got one. And I assume its not a joke, because the name has to be ‘registered’ somewhere for the shady collectors to even try and send something.

  55. Angryrider says:

    That’s what might happen when you give dogs human names.
    Come! Arfahrf!

  56. incognit000 says:

    Wait, you can get a credit card in your dog’s name?

    I knew that you could get extra cards off your account for yourself, your spouse or your kids, but your dog?

    Do credit card companies just not care what name is on the front anymore?

  57. pgaulrapp says:

    You do not need a social security number to get a credit card. I know the GM card allows this for sure, so American Express probably does as well. It does take longer for them to verify identity though.

  58. SacraBos says:

    @MissTicklebritches: Nah. The dog definitely looks better.

  59. campredeye says:

    Ugliest dog ever.

    But on a similar note, we use our NORMAL yellow lab’s names to send into Margaritas restaurant for their birthday coupons! $10 off your meal on their birthday. One of us just has to pretend to be “Cody” or “Riley” when we go out.

  60. aleck says:

    So, you give a dog first and last name, an Amex card and then act all surprised announce it to the world that it got an collection bill?

  61. RobinB says:

    My Lhasa has been gone 3 years now and we still get junk mail and credit card offers. . . . in her name.

  62. ringo00 says:

    It has been said here more than once, but I can’t help but chime in.

    You can get a credit card in ANY name if you add it to an existing account as an authorized user. You may recall a few years ago, someone hoaxing newspapers into believing that Michael Jackson was going to show up at a hotel in Boston. This was done with a credit card added to an existing account.


  63. mizmoose says:

    @B: I knew someone who used to say that “Lhasa Apso” translates to “Dustmop In Search Of A Handle”

  64. Just Skippingstones says:

    im one of the collectors…i am sick and tired of the dead beats that think they need customer service on their dead beat accounts…if you owe the bill…pay it…just figure it out…pay it…dont argue…dont fdcpa us…pay it…you owe it!!! why do you think this country is in the state its in???? its because you wont pay your freaking bill…why do you think interest rates are so high????? its because you defaulted on your credit card or your sick enough to put it in your dogs name, so the rest of us can pay your freaking bill!!!