Is a creditor allowed to track your family down and harrass them ?
State/Country relating to question: Pennsylvania
This is for a magazine subscription . I was to pay 3 years and get them for 6 years . A while back I told them I was having some financial problems and couldn't continue to pay . I was told I couldn't do that . 2 months ago I tried to settle it . I gave them my bank card number and a date . They took it a day early which overdrew my account . Now they are calling my son , my daughter in law , and my sister in law , telling all of them they have a case pending against me . I didn't give them inf
If a creditor is unable to reach you then they can legally use the telephone book and the internet and call every person listed with your name and your last name in an effort to try to locate you -- and if anyone they call admits to knowing you or being related to you then the MOST they are permitted to do is leave a name and a telephone number for you to call them back at and ask the person who answered the telephone to give the message to you. The creditor is not permitted to tell the persons answering the telephone anything about your debt, court proceedings, etc against you. So, it appears to me from your description that this particular creditor is going much too far with the telephoneing anyone with your name "trick" (as we call it in the legal world). My suggestion is that you write them a letter (not an email or telephone call -- a letter is the only legally recognized method of trying to get them to stop the behavior and if you end up in court over these matters a Judge will ask you if you sent them a letter using the US Mail - due to our current internet generation, there are vast numbers of young people out there who believe that an email is a sufficient "writing" to satisfy the law and in 99% of case and email is NOT sufficient for legal purposes -- I am just letting you know that because even if it does not apply to you and this particular situation you find yourself in, then it might be a handy fact to know for future reference). Your letter should have a RE: line at the top with your name and account number and then start the letter under that ("To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam" are always good opening salutations if you do not have the name of anyone specific in the company that you have been dealing with). In the first line you should state that it has come to your attention that they and their collection representatives have been telephoning members of your family and making inflammatory and defamatory remarks about you and your account with them and "I am hereby ordering you to CEASE and DESIST from all such collection activity and telephone calling to any person other than MYSELF" regarding this account and these matters and this restriction is an INDEFINITE CEASE AND DESIST order on this account. You know where I live and you have my telephone numbers and other contact information and there is no legal reason that you should be calling anyone that I know about a debt that should be held in the strictest of confidentiality between your company and myself." You should end the letter by stating that if the behavior does not stop them you will be filing complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (which oversees telephone and electronic communication violations), the Federal Trade Commission (which handles complaints against companies for their collection tactics) and the Attorney General's Office in PA (which handles overall consumer complaints). In addition, "I will hire a private attorney and pursue your company for illegal collection tactics and civil and criminal harassment charges and pursue this matter to the fullest extent of PA and U.S. laws available." You should send the same letter two ways -- by certified mail and by regular mail (with proof of mailing at the post office -- the PO will give you a receipt stamped with the time and date sent and the address sent to and it costs about 80 cents).
I hope this helps you. I am not permitted by the terms of this site to actually write this letter for you but I think I gave you enough to go on and get started on pulling this letter together in my answer above. In addition to the letter, you should also make the complaints to the FCC, the FTC and the AG's office as I suggested above (whether they cease and desist or not) -- just to make the agencies aware of the company name and the collection tactics used -- because if any of these agencies get a few complaints against the same company, the FCC, FTC and/or the AG's office will eventually pursue them and shut them down.
Please let me know if you have any further questions -- if not canyou please press the THIRD, FOURTH or FIFTH smile or star below so that I will be paid for my time. I am paid nothing unless you press the 3rd face or star OR the 4th face or star OR the 5th face or star below. This is not a hobby for me-- it is how I earn a living so I appreciate it when my customers press thecorrect button below so I will be paid for my time. THANK YOU !!
13 years experience in Consumer Protection law, in particular construction law and auto repo law
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