Anyone in New Jersey that has had a debt sent to collections knows how it feels to be harassed by debt collectors. It’s stressful enough to be subjected to some debt collectors’ tactics while contemplating bankruptcy; but when the debt doesn’t even belong to the party being harassed, the stress can be just as bad. One debt collection agency has been under investigation for harassing people who have either paid off the debt in question or don’t even owe the debt they are being harassed over.
One man is being harassed by the company being investigated, Palisades Collection, LLC, for a debt that he says he paid off about 10 years ago. He has since filed a lawsuit against the company for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Many people are not aware that there are statutes of limitations on debts. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations on debts is six years.
Another woman was being harassed for a debt to a cellular phone company that she says had never used. A former consultant to a Palisades Collection, LLC office in New Jersey says that his consulting company was fired when he went to senior management alleging unethical practices by the Palisades Collection office. The former consultant has since filed a complaint with the Department of Labor against Palisades Collection’s parent company, Asta Funding.
The outcome of any pending litigation or complaints is for the courts or administrative body in question to decide. Proponents of debt collection agencies may say that harassing phone calls are necessary in order to get people to pay their debts. However, any consumer that believes he or she has been the victim of unethical practices by a debt collection agency has the right to file a complaint.
For those New Jersey consumers that legitimately owe the debts they are receiving harassing phone calls about, bankruptcy may be an option. Once a bankruptcy is filed, creditors and debt collectors are obligated to stop all collection activities during the course of the bankruptcy. This reprieve may give the filer time to take stock of his or her financial situation.
Source: 6abc.com, “Investigation: Debt collector accused of harassing innocent consumers,” Nydia Han, Feb. 26, 2013