Skip to comments.Predictive Dialers and Enchanted Buckets
Posted on 05/12/2012 7:03:28 AM PDT by AtlasStalled
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act forbids advertisers, bill collectors and the like from calling your mobile phone, without your consent, using an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice. * * * The Seventh Circuit panel said consent doesnt transfer from the people who owe money to the [the telephone subscribers who subsequently] happen to inherit their numbers.
Judge Easterbrook offered this analogy to support his reasoning:
"Borrower agrees with Bank, as a condition of a loan, that Bank can enter Borrowers garage and repossess his car if he does not keep current on payments. After signing this contract, Borrower sells his house, moves, does not tell Bank his new address,and defaults on the loan. Can Bank now enter the garage of the house where Borrower used to live and seize the car the repo men find there? Surely not. Borrower can consent to an entry on his own land and the use of his own car as collateral, but he cant consent to an entry on anyone elses land or the seizure of someone elses property."
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...
The first call or two to find out that the number’s ownership has changed are understandable. But, calling time after time once that information has been communicated is annoying, invasive, and stupid. Why would the collection company want to do this? Their time collecting should be worth something to them. Chasing someone who doesn’t own the debt doesn’t do them any good either.
Good call, judge.
Back in '92 when we first moved into our house, we got a new land line number and started getting collectors calls, we would explain the situation, the problem was some of them didn't believe us and continued calling.
The problem didn't go away entirely until we went wireless, some time in the 90s.
The only reason I have a landline is because my DSL provider demands it. We never use it. We get calls from time to time which usually aren’t for us. One was a bill collector. Because we didn’t use the landline, answering the phone was always optional. I looked forward to the bill collector calling. He was loads of fun to screw with. Finally I told him the truth and he sounded relieved and quit calling.
Our child was getting calls on his cell phone from Wells Fargo to refinance his house. duh. Took 4 months to track down someone to get the number removed from the list, because the list was only searchable by NAME not by phone number and the number was obviously not associated with our name. Plus the outbound calls are done from multiple locations.
Now we get unsolicited text messages to buy things. We could spend a long time tracking down the originator, but we choose to have a life instead and ignore them. Now the cell phones are on vibrate or off altogether unless needed.
I had the same problem in 2006--and it went on for five years. The collectors believed me, but after a few months the uncollected debt would be resold (at a lower percentage of face value) to another outfit, and the calls and explanations would start all over.
Ive heard of cases where the consumer paid the debt after getting hounded even when he or she never even owed the debt or the debt was so old that the statute of limitations for bringing an action against it had expired.
I’m not sure debt collection firms which purchase the debt engage in much due diligence — if any — to ensure the validity of the debt in the first instance including who actually owes it.
At the risk of being a big government regulator I suggest the following to protect consumers from paying on phony debt to scam collectors.
First, the debt collection firm must produce to the purported debtor actual evidence that the collection firm owns the debt rather than simply stating so in a letter or over the phone. For example, the debt collection firm must produce an invoice showing from whom the collection firm bought the debt, how much it paid for the debt and when it was purchased, and this evidence should include a signed statement from the original holder that it has relinquished all rights in the debt.
Second, the debt collection firm must produce the underlying documents between the original holder and the debtor consumer which shows the purported existence of the debt. Indeed, when the original holder sells the debt to the collection firm, all these underlying documents should be transmitted to the collection firm and provided to the consumer in the collection efforts. This would help prevent fraudulent debt collection practices.
Third, a law should be passed which would prohibit any collection effort on debts for which the statute of limitations has passed for filing an action to recover through the judicial process. Old debt would make it easy for debt collectors to harass people with phony claims because the consumer probably just assumes he forgot about it and, no longer remembering, simply pays it off to avoid the harassment of the collector.
Finally, stricter criminal penalties including jail time should be imposed on individual collectors and their firms for violating any collection laws including use of foul language, physical threats, false statements, repetitive calls which serve no other purpose but to annoy or harass, etc.
Sprint did this to me when I first got a cell phone.
They would call and ask for Jose. I would tell them I was not Jose and don’t even know anyone named Jose. Apparently, they thought that I was lying, so they called over & over. They would never tell me why they were calling, even when I asked. I would tell them my name and to check their records as to who had the number (which they obviously did not bother to do).
After 6-8 calls over about a month’s time, once more they called and when they asked to speak to Jose, I just said “yeah”. They informed me I owed them $250. I told them I was current on my billing and went through my rant yet again. This time they finally listened and quit calling.