Makin' Money

Don’t ignore the debt collector

Chris Farrell Mar 22, 2011

Question: Last night at 8 P.M. I got a call from someone representing themselves as a mediator for a law firm and that someone had issued a complaint against my son and was in the process of suing him. He gave me the law firm, a number and asked me to get a hold of my son and call him so he could take care of the matter. He said he was impartial and just a mediator. Well, I called my son, my son called him. He actually was a debt collector, and he started threatening my son with a law suit that would garnish his wages and find out all his assets. He also had his social security number. He obviously was no mediator, and was just using strong-arm tactics to collect a debt. My son has been in school, and then un-employed until recently. He finally has found a full-time job with benefits. My question is this–does a debt collector have the right to call all family members including my daughter? My son called me back. It’s about a Discover card that has a $250.00 limit. But these strong-arm tactics??? Thanks. Debra, Allouez, MI

Answer: What’s happening is a lot of law firms are getting into the debt collection business. There are fair debt collection procedures, both federal laws and state laws.

Debt collectors are not supposed to misrepresent themselves as to what they’re doing or what they’re about. They also aren’t supposed to talk to relatives or neighbors or your employer about what they’re calling about. They can ask for contact information, but they’re not supposed to discuss debts.

The issue is even though it’s a small debt the law firm is threatening garnishment and law suits. Your son really needs to talk to an attorney familiar with the credit laws in his state. He should see where he stands. Hopefully, this won’t be a big deal. He can bark back.

You might want to write the law firm a letter and say, stop contacting me. You have that right under federal law. You aren’t being sued. So you can tell them to take a hike.

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