Don’t get baited to violate the FDCPA
The name of the businesses and the debtors are obviously changed, but the story is real. Any similar names are purely coincidental.
We have a client who sells high-end appliances. Stoves, refrigerators, and washer/dryers. From time to time, like most service and delivery businesses, they have some customers who refuse to pay them. That is where we come in. We have collected every debt they have placed with us so far except this one…. Here is the story so far and it is worth telling.
Sally was placed for collections for her unpaid balance. Sally received a call and a dunning letter from us. Standard operating procedure. Sally has been good at communicating with our office. The communications seemed to start off well and we were moving toward a full payment. From time to time, a debtor may ask for a copy of the invoice or some proof of the debt. Sally did that and we provided it on email (her requested mode of communication). She acknowledged receipt of the invoices (kind of…She did not say she did NOT get them, so we will assume she got them) Then Sally requested us send her a “form” with the client info filled in. We had sent her one of our dunning letters, which has all the info about the debt, the client, and our contact info. Sally emails back and says that the “form” we sent over was blank and did not have the info filled in. I am thinking it may be error on our letter or the fields did not populate or something. Prior to sending her the notice, I sent one to myself to make sure I saw any error. There was none. So I took it upon myself to send the “form” to her (Notice I keep quoting “form?” There is a reason and I am getting to it). She emails me back claiming the same… “The fields are blank, and it doesn’t reference the debt anywhere.” I am perplexed for sure. I ask Sally to send back the notice in which we have sent her twice. She sends it back and low and behold, all the fields ARE populated and all the info about the debt ARE there. So, I try to call her and of course I get her voice mail and the voice mail is full. The reason I am calling her is to now determine her definition of “Form.” When I look up the definition of “Form” it is as follows: a printed or typed document with blank spaces for insertion of required or requested information.
There is no “form” for her to fill out unless she were to go to our website Judgment Acquisitions and pay through our payment portal where we take every form of payment (except bitcoin…but that is coming soon)
So, when I call I am trying do determine what “form” she is requesting specifically. I have tried to call her on 3 occasions over the last 2 weeks and every time the voice mail is full and obviously, she is not answering the phone.
She seems my missed calls on her called ID. Therefore, I cannot explain the definitions and clarify what exactly she needs. From time to time, people will call things by the wrong name or have a different definition of a document, so we will need to clarify the definitions. When they won’t take a call or try to call you back, something is wrong. My Spidey senses are peaking and there is something odd about this case.
I have finally determined that Sally never had any intention to pay her debt now. She is stalling. Her actions seemed to be some sort of baiting action by her to get us frustrated with her and say/type something that would violate the FDCPA. Sally more than can pay based on the neighborhood she lives and the assets she holds. It has been 3 days now since we last tried to reach her. That is our last amicable attempt to resolve it. She sent another message from her phone saying she wants to resolve this, but we did not send her a “Form” with the fields in it. I did not respond.
My guess is that someday soon, Sally will pay the debt on her own volition. If not, we will need to take some sort of further action against her. After All,….
“If we cannot collect the debt, Nobody can”
What do you think Sally is doing? Is she stalling for time? Is she trying to get us to break the law so she can sue someone? Is Sally simply never been contacted by a debt collection company before and she is expecting something from us? Love to hear your feedback.