Monday, July 2, 2012

Bill Collectors From Hell: Three Victims Recount Their Tales

A recent story at reports on three debt collection horror stories where the victims terrorized by debt collectors recount their tales. Some excerpts:

  • Tale No. 1: Terrorized by text

    The debt: Jessica Burke had bought a used Pontiac Grand Am and fell a few months behind on payments when she had trouble finding work after a move to California. She called the financing company, and they agreed to give her extra time to pay.


    The harassment: The bill collector got her address and other private information by calling her cell phone company, impersonating her father and asking to be added to her account. Then, he began a barrage of angry calls and texts. The messages upset Burke so much she called the police, who ordered the collector to stop contacting her.

    But the texts continued for weeks, coming from a disguised number and implying that he was watching her. In one, he called her "Porky Pig" and a "200-pound slob" and added, "I got picture messages of you today." Late one night, she says, he texted her, claiming he was outside her house. She says: "It was 11 o'clock at night, I lived in a very rural area and I was home by myself. I was terrified."


  • Tale No. 2: Get your gun

    The debt: A debt collector called West Virginia homemaker Diana Mey about an old debt, possibly a credit card debt, allegedly owed by her son, who had moved out eight years earlier.


    The harassment: The collectors continued to call, threatening to put a lien on Mey's house and to sue her son. She sent a letter telling the company to stop contacting her. Then she started getting hang-up calls that showed up on her caller ID as coming from the local sheriff's department.

    "I called the sheriff's department and said, 'Is somebody trying to get ahold of me?' They said 'No.'" One evening, the phone rang again, from the same number. The deep male voice on the other end asked for Diana, using a vulgar slur. He then went on to make graphic threats of sexual assault. Horrified, Mey told him she was recording the call. He responded: "Yay." After she hung up, Mey called 911 to report the incident. Home alone, she got her husband's gun and hung it on her bedpost that night. She says: "I was literally shaking I was so scared."

  • Tale No. 3: Followed on Facebook

    The debt: In Florida, Kathryn Haralson bought a used Jeep Grand Cherokee and made monthly payments for more than five years until she fell behind in February 2011. She thought she had only a few more payments left. However, the creditor, MarkOne Financial, claimed she still owed $7,400.


    The harassment: The bill collector called her work number and asked a coworker where Haralson usually parks her car, Haralson says. He also called her father, her brother, her husband and her daughter, who was away at college, according to her lawsuit. The collector dialed her husband's cell phone so much that he had to stop answering it and missed several business calls, she says.

    The collector called her brother at work enough to jeopardize his job and refused to stop, she says. Then he tracked Haralson down on Facebook and wrote: "Good day. Please contact Mr. Rice at MarkOne regarding a personal business matter," followed by his phone number. Haralson says: "When I started getting Facebook messages, that was very alarming."
For more, see True debt collection horror tales (3 people terrorized by debt collectors recount their stories).

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