ABC News reports that Jessica Burke bought a car in 2007 and owed $350 in late payments on the car. A debt collector (whose real name and employer were kept private by ABC News) was eventually called in to obtain the money. In the course of doing so, the collector reportedly phoned Burke repeatedly, contacted her boss, told Burke he could find her anywhere and made remarks about her weight, including calling her “Porky Pig.”
According to the article, at one point the collector allegedly sent 15 messages a day, although the defendant said a collections manager from the car lot sent those texts. Burke said she repaid the debt but the harassment continued. After filing a lawsuit, Burke was awarded $33,000, but the collector has refused to pay.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from abusive practices at the hands of debt collectors. Among the rules set out in the act are prohibitions against harassing behavior, phone calls made at certain times of day and contacting the consumer’s employer.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted due to “abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many debt collectors,” the Act states.
“Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.”
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Investigators allege WSA’s scheme targeted more than 6,000 victims in all 50 states and resulted in the company collecting around $4.1 million.