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My mom has been the lucky recipient of repeated calls from a collection agency just because she shares the first initial and last name of some person who isn't paying their bills. They call all the time and just can't be convinced she isn't this person, or is harboring this person and knows her whereabouts. My mom has caller ID and can just not pick up the phone, but is there some way to convince these people to stop calling? If nothing else, it's really inefficient of them to waste so much time harassing the wrong person.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
dame_grise
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Depends on where she lives. When I was in NC, I was told no when it was just that I had the same phone number that someone they wanted used to have. If you aren't the person they're looking for you have no rights at all if you can't convince them through logic.
anodyna
Mar. 22nd, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
I get calls like that a lot because my phone listing is under my initial. Legally I don't think they're allowed to just trawl the phone book calling random people with the same last name, but every time, they'll claim that D[randomnameofsomebody] [mylastname] put this very phone number down on their credit application. What a miraculous coincidence!

They generally stop once I say, no, I don't know X, no one in my family has that name, I've never known anyone by that name, you have the wrong number and DO NOT CALL ME AGAIN. But I'm pretty aggressive with questioning them about how they got my number--I think that helps. If nothing else it makes me sound annoyed and like someone who might sue if they don't stop calling. :)

Anyway, the conduct of third-party debt collectors is regulated by the FTC under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm.

They don't specifically address the situation of when the collection agency has the wrong person, but the rules for them are the same regardless of who they're calling. The Consumerist gets questions about debt collection a lot--if this was posted as a question there I think the advice you'd get is (1) the next time they call, ask for the name and mailing address of the collection agency, then (2) follow the instructions on the FTC's site for sending them a stop-calling-me letter. That should make them stop. If it doesn't, the next step is documenting all the calls and filing a complaint with the FTC.
chicken_cem
Mar. 24th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
Thank you for this.
spiletta42
Mar. 22nd, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
Like the above poster stated, you need to send a letter. I've found that this will make the calls stop for a few weeks, but then the collection agency sells the account to a different collection agency, and it starts all over again.
cornerofmadness
Mar. 22nd, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
what anodyna said. I get on average 4 calls a month for various people who i share nothing in common with name wise and people are convinced they live with me
(Deleted comment)
cactuswatcher
Mar. 23rd, 2011 12:57 am (UTC)
I saw this too. Basically it repeated Anodyna's advice about sending them a letter.
masqthephlsphr
Mar. 23rd, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I Facebooked it for my mom.
darlas_mom
Mar. 23rd, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
There are people out there who actually make a pretty good living logging violations of the Fair Debt Collections Act and then suing the collection agency.

If none of the above suggestions work for making them go away, I suggest suing them into dissolution. ;-)
masqthephlsphr
Mar. 23rd, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC)
Heh, heh, heh. My mom's a lawyer.

MasqMom, Esq., retired.
anomster
Mar. 23rd, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Ooh, then it might be enough for her to just mention that little fact to collection callers!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )