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Discussion Starter #1
Just curious, but does anyone know if it's illegal for bill collectors to call family members that you do not live with and you've never been a reference for them?

I got a weird phone call today from a bill collector looking for someone in my family, and I refused to give her my family member's phone number and got her number instead. She would not tell me who she was and kept saying it was a "private matter", but I googled the number and found out it was a bill collector. She also mentioned my brother during the phone call, trying to trick me into thinking that I know her.

I do not appreciate these calls nor do I want them to continue -- I am on a Missouri No Call List, so I do not know if this type of call is considered a telemarketer. I'd like to turn the bill collector in for harrassment -- my family member's debt is not my problem. It really kind of makes me mad that they are going this route. :evil: :evil:
 

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No, it's not a telemarketer. Collection agencies can use pretty much any shady tactics they can get away with to attempt collection, short of making any threats against person or property. :?
 

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I am not sure about families, but we had a problem at work last year with an collections company calling for an ex-employee. They insisted on calling every day and asked to speak to her friends etc despite being told they were wasting company time and no one was going to give out the address or phone# of the person. We agreed the first day to email the person and pass on a message, which was done but they called 3 times a day for a few weeks before we had our lawyer contact them.

It is against the law to harass the person while at work - even if it is the person who owes money, as you are forcing them into 'stealing' company time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I work at home -- so maybe if they call again, I also will say they are stealing my company's time.
 

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it's is not illegal for them to call you. but you can tell them they are calling a place of business, and that should make them stop
 

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Hippyhart said:
I do not appreciate these calls nor do I want them to continue -- I am on a Missouri No Call List, so I do not know if this type of call is considered a telemarketer. I'd like to turn the bill collector in for harrassment -- my family member's debt is not my problem. It really kind of makes me mad that they are going this route. :evil: :evil:
Many of the no call list allow only companies that deal directly with you to contact you. I'd contact your states attorney general's office, their web site may even have a online form to report the call, and let them know.
 

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JoeyM said:
Many of the no call list allow only companies that deal directly with you to contact you. I'd contact your states attorney general's office, their web site may even have a online form to report the call, and let them know.
This is exactly what I was going to suggest. I did this when I received repeated calls from a fundraiser who I had clearly told that I did not wish to be called. The folks in the AG's office were very helpful and I found out from them that this "charity" was a scam.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great, I will be reporting them tonight -- this is not a company I have done business with so I shouldn't be subjected to these types of calls.

And I just want to say that my family member's collections are not due to credit card debt or acting frivolously -- he was laid off three times in three years and couldn't afford to make his car payment anymore, so it was repossessed. It's humiliating enough to be let go from your job that many times but to have creditors calling your house five times a day and now his family is ridiculous.
 

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They are allowed to call once, and only once. If they continue to call, you can report them.

In my never ending quest looking up information to turn my credit around, I came across many people asking about this. HOWEVER: If it is not a collection agency, but rather the company itself, they can do what they want. As crappy as that is, it's true. You only have a leg to stand on if it's a collection agency.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I googled the number and it was a collections agency, so you're saying the collections company can do what they want?

I will be seeing my brother that the caller mentioned on the phone tomorrow and will see if he got a call too. His number is unlisted though, so I wonder if they will be able to get in touch with him.

I still feel this is invasion of privacy -- especially since it's not my debt and she was trying to trick me into talking to her. I'm not a fool, lady -- and I love to hold a grudge. I also have her number too and can just as easily call her 15 times a day if it comes to that. :twisted: :twisted: Sorry, I get worked up about these things.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay, I found some rules -- in case anyone else is interested.

In general, collectors cannot:

· try to collect a debt without first notifying the debtor in writing;
· initiate legal action without notifying the debtor in writing and receiving written permission from the creditor;
· make phone calls of such a nature or frequency to constitute harassment;
· call outside of restricted days and hours;
· imply or give false or misleading information;
· demand payment of a debt without giving the name of the creditor and the total amount owed;
· continue to demand payment after a person has claimed to be someone other than the debtor before the collector has tried every way to ensure he/she has the right person;
· contact a debtor's friends, relatives, employer or neighbours except to get a telephone number and address.

The last one is where I come in -- but I also feel they were giving trying to give misleading information by trying to trick me into thinking they knew my family by asking about my brother and not telling me what company they were with or what reason they were calling.
 

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Hippyhart said:
The last one is where I come in -- but I also feel they were giving trying to give misleading information by trying to trick me into thinking they knew my family by asking about my brother and not telling me what company they were with or what reason they were calling.
I still think the AG is the way to go. The worst they can say is that it isnt their problem, but they could also fine this group or shut them down.
 

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I had the exact opposite problem....

When I was living in a dorm, it was common practice for the University to sell your phone number and your mail box address (along with a list of classes you are taking, etc...the University is extremely indiscreet). I had Citibank calling me three times a day for two semesters TRYING TO GET ME sign up for their credit card!!! I was pulling all-nighters left and right (organic chemistry classes are evil...) and they would wake me up every single time I take a nap!!! The most ironic thing is they kept calling me Rebecca for two semesters even though I told him my name is Sheng-Mei every day for two semesters.....I eventually gave away my phone and answering machine to a friend alltogether and lived without a phone for a year.

Citibank is evil....credit cards are evil...I still don't own a credit card, and I am proud to be debt-free.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Getting on the No Call List is the best thing we've ever done -- well, that and getting caller ID. We've barely had any telemarketers call in the last two or three years, which has been wonderful. The only calls we get now are people we know and companies we've done business with -- occasionally a charity will call, but that's about it.

Anyway, I called the attorney general's office and plan to file a complaint today.
 

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I got on the No Call List several years ago. It never did me any good. I got the same amount of calls from Citibank. They were contracting to several different advertising agencies and my caller ID didn't pick up their numbers, so I couldn't report them.
 

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I had a few very bizzare situations in regards to collections:

In one case, I had been divorced for over a year, and someone was trying to collect from my ex. I had moved twice and was in an apt. with an unlisted number.

Someone called the mayor of the city, who happened to live next to apt. complex I lived in, to report a "family emergency". The mayor's wife went to the landlady of my apt. and my landlady called my place of employment.

Mind you, this was a debt due by my ex and it happened well after our divorce was final. My name was never connected to it! For them to call the mayor, who just happened to live near my apt...and then to say it was a "family emergency"! I got this call while on the job, but it went to my senior manager (I was a medical asst). It was blown out of proportion then, insinuating that someone had died! I frantically called the number given only to find out it was a collector's tactic, I hit the roof! Adding insult to the whole thing, I was counciled by my manager because of it.

I divorced my ex in 1993. Lived on my own until 1997, remarried and moved 300 miles away. Last month, I got a call from someone looking for my ex-mother-in-law! 12 years AFTER I divorced her son! :evil: I don't even know if the woman is still alive...much less what her phone number is...grrrrr!

And...to top it off, we got our phone number changed 3 years ago, because it was incorrectly listed as a fax number for a metal manufacturer. Now, if that isn't a pain in th @$$, I don't know what is....we averaged 20-30 fax calls per day and night! Okay, back to the new number. Whoever had this number before us is apparently in deep debt or legal trouble. We get numerous calls to this day :!: from attorney offices, collectors, and most recently, we had a call from someone claiming to work at the DA's office and needing to contact this person. When I say they have the wrong # and explain the situation, I am usually met with doubt and have been called an out-right liar.

I tell them to come and get me! :wink:
 

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I'm really impressed that people have phone stories to share. Reason why is that when i answer the phone, and it's a telemarketer or some other kind of non-wanted phone call, i always make it a game to see what i have to do to get them to hang up! I never really hear what they are saying while i'm having my fun. It's somewhat interesting to see the stories.
 

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This is fairly off-topic, but in response to Joey's post...

I used to try to get the telemarketers to hang up on me, too. I used to get many phone calls from several scam artists trying to sell me toner. The scam runs like this: They call me up telling me they're from corporate headquarters or from our copier vendor then ask me to tell them the numbers on the front of the copier (we actually had four copiers which they would have known had they been legit). If you give them the numbers, the scammers send you cases of toner at hugely inflated costs. It's a pretty old scam. My three favorite replies were these:

1.) "Um..I'm fairly certain that I'm corporate headqaurters." Then they'd hang up.

2.) "Does this scam still work?" They'd hang up.

3.) Me: We don't have copiers.
Scammer: ....um...really?
Me: Really.
Scammer: How do you copy stuff?
Me: We use carbon paper.
Scammer: *hangs up*

As for creditors, in the US they're not allowed to call you at work. If they do it, warn them not to do it again. If they do, sue. It's harassment.
 

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My husband is the same way about playing games with solicitors. He always says something to the effect of "uh-huh...tell me more" and wastes as of their much time as he possibly can while leading them to believe he is interested...when they have nothing else on their script to read, he likes to ask technical and legal details that the average telemarketer won't know, then tell them the answer. After all of this time, the solictor then wants to finalize the deal and hubby was say, "No thank you"...usually a surprised person on the other side will say, "but, why..?" and hubby will reply back either "Don't need it"; "not interested, etc"...he will usually have to say that several times before it sinks in. :lol:

Before we got on the "do not call" list, when my daughter (she is 18)would answer one of these calls, she would usually just play classical Japanese music into the receiver until they hung up.

Another trick my husband liked to do: if it was an automated recording, which requested you to leave a message, he would simply put the receiver down next to his pc speaker or t.v. speaker and let it fill up the tape as much as possible...

I just get frustrated, but then I am home most of the time, and before the "do not call" went into effect, we got an average of 15-20 calls a day (I know it sounds like it, but this is no exaggeration!) I still shudder every time I see "out of area" on "unavailable" on the caller i.d.; but it is usually someone calling from a cell. :wink:
 

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Brynn said:
I still shudder every time I see "out of area" on "unavailable" on the caller i.d.; but it is usually someone calling from a cell. :wink:
I do not have that problem. Here in Ohio, I have SBC for local service and subscribe to their Privacy Manager. With this service, any call that comes through as blocked, out of area, unavailable is screened.

The only thing I deal with is if it shows up as "toll free call" where it lists the number. When I see that, I never answer.
 
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