I keep comments open forever on Workbench because the old blog entries here occasionally attract some interesting comments in the deluge of spam. A debt collector searching Google on Tuesday for the phrase debt collector sued for doing their job found my story on the $8.1 million judgment against a collector and posted an epic rant.
The rant, which I've reprinted in full below, shows that debtor anger and the threat of being sued are getting to these bottom feeders. If you're bothered by calls from debt collectors, tell them you can't receive calls at work and they only can contact you in writing. They are required by law to stop, and if you make a written no-contact request, they can be sued for continuing to call you.
Consumers are winning these suits all over the U.S. You do not have to endure harassment because you owe a debt.
I'm a debt collector. And some of you are fools. Just by reading your nonsense I can tell you are worthless, irresponsible do-nothings. Perhaps if you could spell better, you might fool me otherwise ... ;)
LUCKYBUNNIE: Getting calls at work? Puh-lease. Like you don't have the ability to just hang up and spare the embarrassment from these coworkers you claim heard you talking about your debts on the phone. You're an idiot, and deserved what you got for doing what you did. Stop being a pansy and pay your bills. First off, you have a job and can afford it. Secondly, you're paying a debt solution company to do the same thing you can do by yourself, except you're paying them more money to do it for you. You have every opportunity to save money by relieving them of their services and settling with debt collectors directly. It will probably save you alot more money. All you need in this world is a bit of intelligence to get by. Have you considered gaining some? Here's your chance.
As for the gentleman with the "skip-tracing" skills ... Fred ... sounds like you've got it all figured out, champ. What was the name of the company you sued? I'd encourage them to counter-sue you for entrapment. These are people's jobs you're affecting. YOU think collectors are parasites ... apparently ... which is why you chose to be an ***hole about an honest mistake. All you really had to do was inform them they have the wrong person, but being the dishonest and spiteful man you are, you had to take it to an unnecessary level. I'll bet you're really proud of that. :( So, Fred, how many debts did you legally owe which drove you to hate collectors this much? Nobody's fault but your own, buddy. I hope you have fun in Hell. Satan has a dark, lonely place reserved for spiteful people. Especially ones who don't pay their bills.
I need to make money somehow so that I can pay my taxes and my bills. I do it by sitting on the phone all day and getting death threats, and listening to deadbeats tell me how they are going to hurt my family. I also put up with others who threaten to sue me simply for doing my job (yes, people can sue me directly regardless if they sue my company.) My daily job generally consists of putting up with the scum of this nation -- all while being prohibited from throwing it back into their faces the way I wish I could. In short, if I were half as much of a jerk on the phone with other people as they are to me, I would lose everything I own.
It takes a special breed to put up with this crap.
So I guess here is my chance. Here's a lineup of the types of deadbeats I have to deal with all day.
1. The Mutes: people who answer the phone right away, but go silent immediately when you ask for their name, and then hang up.
2. Indigents: people who use other people's money, goods or services and then don't pay them back because they know that the law protects them from being held accountable. These are the people on SSI/SSDI whom your taxes pay to feed, clothe and shelter. Then they have the audacity to steal on top of that. Isn't it pathetic? Other times I can convince an elderly man or woman to pay what they legally owe, but then a snide family member gets wind of the arrangement and convinces them to not pay it -- simply because they are "judgment-proof." Usually this is a son or daughter, and you can guess why they don't want their parents using their savings to pay off old debts ... probably because it means they will lose that much in inheritance. You would not believe how many phone calls I get from angry sons and daughters of debtors threatening me to cancel their parents' repayment arrangements. And the debtor CAN AFFORD to pay it! That's sick! My favorites are the ones who demand a refund after the payment has been made. lol
3. Gatekeepers: family or friends of the responsible party who answer the debtor's phone all the time and tell me they are not around (after asking who I am, of course). Last week the debtor was in the hospital because of a bad car accident and in critical condition, yesterday they were out looking for a job (gotta admit, its a good story), and TODAY they are not home from work yet ... depending on who you talk to. Unless everybody in the family can keep their lies organized and consistent, it's usually easy to catch these kinds of cover-ups.
4. KIDS: Yes, people put their kids on the phone to get out of paying their debts, for crying out loud. But I usually have fun with this one. A collector is almost always smarter than a child, and usually knows that the parent is right there next to the kid telling them what to say. So when I ask why mommy and daddy are not there and why he/she is being left all alone, or if I get the kid to tell me where mommy or daddy works (yes, it is entirely legal to ask this and it is entirely legal to call a debtor's work) it usually prompts an angry debtor to magically appear and demand to know who I am. :) I only feel sorry for these kids, whose irresponsible parents probably punish them for being honest. Kids will tell you anything if you let them think that it's smart of them. "Say, you sound smart. Does your mommy/daddy still work at ...?" "YES!!!"
5. No speaky English: They speak English fluently enough to open up an account for goods or services, yet when people start calling to ask for that money back, "No speaky English!!!" In this country, it is not required that anybody speaks English, so luckily most agencies have a Spanish-speaking collector. This usually puts a kink in people's plans who think they can get off by pretending not to understand what is being demanded of them.
6. Take Me Off Your List: The debtor used to have this number, but changed it ... probably because they kept getting collection calls. So now some poor person has to put up with the calls, because they got a new phone and ... guess who's number they got? So I answer the phone and half the calls are people screaming at me because they get 7 calls daily for somebody they don't know, and I'm the only person they are able to scream at about it. "TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST, YOU ***HOLE!!!" I don't have a list, idiot. Telemarketers have "lists." I will mark this as a bad number, thanks for being so nice about it.
7. I owe the debt, I CAN pay it, I just hate bill collectors: self explanatory. I think somebody's post earlier described this nonsensical approach. People think they can incur a debt and pay it back whenever, wherever and to whomever they please---and in whatever amounts. It does not work this way, people. Creditors have their rights, too (although these rights are being stripped more and more by the day, and the will and whim of the irresponsible debtor is gaining more and more sympathy--as demonstrated by this story)
8. I didn't open this account: Very common. Usually it takes one or two pieces of the debtor's personal information on the account to remind them that it is most certainly THEIR debt. Some people are defiant by nature and demand that it goes even further in validation, demanding that they see some kind of itemized statement or a copy of their signature on a contract--which I can't provide as a 3rd party collector. That would be information which my client (the debt buyer) has. Yes yes, the one who has the attorney retained and is about to sue your ***. They would not gone to this length if they didn't have the evidence to back up their claim.
9. I have an attorney: people can legitimately hire law firms to stave off bill collectors (as if collectors are the most horrible blood sucking people on this planet, haa haa.) The funny thing is, half the people who tell you they have a lawyer wont give you a name or number, citing "IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, ***HOLE!!!" (It actually is my business. In fact, it is why I get paid.) In reality, a hired attorney will encourage a debtor to give their name and number so that the collector will confirm representation and work directly with the attorney to resolve the debt, either through a settlement or bankruptcy. So the people who tell me they have an attorney and then don't give a number for that attorney are just dumb.
10. I can't talk about this right now, I am at work, my mom just died, I just lost my job, I dont have any money (yet I can afford a phone) blah blah blah: You have had 3 or more years to get this debt taken care of. Why, now, do you tell me that you still cannot? Why not just NOT answer your phone and NOT waste my time? Deal with the attorney then, not me.
People hate bill collectors simply because they don't like being told what to do. This is a very independent nation. Unfortunately independence and irresponsibility do not mix, and that is where I come in: to remind irresponsible people that other people have their rights as well.
The people who pay their bills are the nice, responsible people -- and I have absolutely no trouble with them. (Most come from Minnesota and Wisconsin. People are just nicer and more responsible in these parts. I am Minnesotan.)
The moral of the story is pay your bills. Most debt collectors will work with you as long as you are willing to pay, and if you're not copping an attitude. As a matter of fact, most will settle with you and let you close the amount out for less than what you legally owe. (Don't act like you're entitled to a settlement though, this will not win you a discount -- the difference between what you owe and what you actually pay to satisfy a debt is completely discretionary) They still make money (they or their client probably bought the debt for pennies on the dollar), you save money and clear up a bad debt at the same time. As long as a person admits they are in the wrong and shows intentions of clearing things up, a debt collector will be your best friend in a time of bad debt. And if you find yourself talking to a debt collector who seems less than cheery, keep in mind somebody else probably just threatened to kill their family.
As if debt collections is a bad thing. As if recovering billions of dollars for the economy annually via debt collections does not have an impact. As if that many jobs generated by the collections industry are not important. As if it's not important to enforce consequences for not paying your bills. Grow up, people. Get a clue, and quit being a bunch of sissies.