Consumer Power – May 13, 2010 – Example Of Consumer Applying Knowledge To Protect Herself

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If you are familiar with our blog, website, videos, and the stuff I do on my Avvo profile, you know that I have been pounding on the theme that we need to know what our rights are AND take action.

We provide information to help with the first part – knowing what your rights are – and we also encourage you to take action.

Normally the action we recommend is to sue the abusive debt collector or the mortgage company that is wrongfully foreclosing, etc. but there are times when other action is appropriate.

I wanted to share with you a conversation I had yesterday morning with a friend and client of mine. She has been dealing with computer dialed calls to her home phone by a collection agency. Voicemails are left – not by a live human but by a pre recorded or machine voice – but the voicemails are not for her. They are for someone else who has the same first letter of her first name (but a man) and same last name.

These pre-recorded messages are illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. [Remember, calls to our home and cell are treated differently – let me know if you have any questions and I can go into more detail].

Taking the knowledge she has learned, she called the collector back and said “That person doesn’t live here. Don’t call me again.”

Knowledge of her rights and taking action.

Of course she was assured the calls would stop – the collector was clearly violating the law.

But even those these were illegal calls and the collector had been warned, the calls continued. . .

So she called back again and said “I know these calls are illegal. I told you to stop. If you call again, you’ll pay me for these calls [$500 or $1500 per call].”

This time her knowledge plus action resulted in the collector stopping the calls.

Two points from this:

1. These places will call until they see if you know what your rights are; and
2. When you take action – such as telling them you know they are breaking the law and they will be held accountable, this often stops them.

An observation – I think these places should be sued when they break the law but what this client has done is to stop the harassment and if they call again, what more can she do except sue? Sometimes this is the only way to make these abusive debt collectors start to follow the law.

Second observation – when we quickly sue abusive collectors (or mortgage companies about to wrongfully foreclose) what we get in return is “You sued us too quickly, you should have given us another chance.”

But, when we don’t sue right away, the same companies say “You should have sued us sooner to make us stop violating the law. You knew we would continue to violate the law until you sued us so we are not responsible.”

Can you imagine a bank robber saying to the police:

1. “You have to let me go – you arrested me too soon” or
2. “You should have arrested me sooner – you knew I would just commit even more crimes so its your fault you were too easy on me when I committed my first crime.”

These abusive debt collectors or mortgage companies that illegally foreclose will argue you either sued too quick or too late – if it wasn’t so serious it would be humorous how absurd they act….

But let’s get back to the “take home message” – learn but always use the knowledge you have or it is not worth knowing.

One way to learn more about your rights is to request our free Alabama books:

*4 Secrets To Stopping Wrongful Foreclosures In Alabama;
*5 Common Mistakes Consumers Make When Sued For Ejectment; and *Ways To Stop Abusive Collectors.

We also have several reports focusing on Alabama law you can request including:

*5 Secrets Debt Buyers Don’t Want You To Know About When They Sue You In Alabama;
*How To Make Collectors Pay When They Call Your Neighbors; and *How To Make Collectors Pay When They Leave Illegal Voicemails.

Then make sure you take action – sometimes it is as simple as telling the person you know they are breaking the law and you will hold them responsible.

Pretty neat when that does the trick, don’t you think?

Thanks and have a great weekend – we’ll look forward to visiting with you next Thursday.

John Watts Birmingham, Alabama
If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.

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