Wally Weber was home one recent day, when she received a threatening call.
"The first words out of her mouth were 'have you been served to appear in court?' And I said 'excuse me?' "
The caller claimed she had failed to repay an old loan, and said Weber needed pay $800 immediately, or face a court judgment.
"If I didn't pay up and went to court, I would owe $6,900 and some odd dollars," Weber said.
"I told them I didn't have the money, that I had to pay my water bill, or it was going to be shut off."
So she agreed to pay them $200 immediately, and $100 dollars a week for two months.
Call Violated Federal Laws
What she didn't realize is that there are specific federal laws pertaining to debt collectors calling you out of the blue, and demanding money on the spot.
The FTC's "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" prohibits much of what the caller was doing.
- A debt collector must tell you the name of the original creditor.
- They must tell you that you have the right to dispute the debt,.
- They must inform you that you can demand written verification.
It's essentially a "Miranda Rights" for debt calls. But the caller wouldn't do any of that.
"She wouldn't give me any paperwork till the loan is paid for," Weber said.
We called the collection company which hung up twice when we identified ourselves as calling from the news media.
A Google search turned up a fair number of complaints but no company at that phone number.
What You Can Do
If this happens to you:
- Do not negotiate over the phone.
- Demand their address, and a written explanation of what you owe.
- Send them an official letter requesting details, and state that you are disputing the claim.
"This is the most reprehensible thing there is," Weber said.
Weber is now disputing the $200 payment she made through her debit card, telling her bank it was a fraudulent withdrawal.
As always, don't waste your money.
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