Wednesday, July 28

Alliance One bastards.

recently, my house been receiving calls from an anonymous (800) number. when they call, they ask to speak to my mother, _____ _______. as is customary in our house, since we're pretty wary of telemarketers (no offense to you guys), i always ask what they're calling in reference to. at this point is when the conversation immediately goes down hill. in an extremely condescending voice the caller (regardless if it's a male/female. it's always a different caller), asks me if i'm [my mother].

to which i respond, "no."

to which the caller responds, "put [my mother] on the phone."

again, i ask what the call is about.

to which the caller responds, in an even snarkier voice, "just put [my mother] on the phone. are you [my mother]? didn't think so. put her on the phone. "

and then usually when i say "no" since they won't identify themselves, they get pretty nasty. the responses so far are:
1. well you're just screwing [my mother] over, not me. good job with that.
2. screw you. have [my mother] call us.

this morning, right as i was headed out to work, they called again. this time, when i told them i didn't feel the need to pass the phone on when the caller refused to identify themselves, she responded (this time was a she), "you never asked" (said in a smug, self-satisfactory tone). touche. but that doesn't stop me from getting pissed. in the middle of me beginning a tirade about how ridiculous to expect anyone to speak to them when they refuse to identify themselves, she hung up.

this was the last straw. so i called them back. thank god for caller ID.

and that's how i found out about Alliance One. you debt collecting bastards.

don't get me wrong. true, i do think all debt collectors are bastards. not because they're collecting debt, but because of the methods they use. for the most part, unless the collector is collecting on behalf of the original creditor, as opposed to an entity that purchased the debt account from the original creditor (or more often times, from a purchaser-of-a-purchaser-of-a-purchaser and so on), usually debt collectors just do a general search of the main account holder's name and then harass all the people it finds until it finds the right one (or a sucker who's willing to pay).

they like to cast a wide net in order to catch a tiny minnow.

i used to work at Pressler & Pressler, which, regardless of all the angst some former employees harbor towards the place, taught me some valuable life lessons regarding debt collection and how to get them to f-off.

1. they are not allowed to speak to anyone except the debtor or the debtor's attorney. in order to confirm that they're speaking with the correct debtor, they'll usually request you verify some information. NEVER verify your place of employment or bank account information. they almost always don't actually have that information on file, so you've just been tricked into providing them sources to collect money from if they ever obtain a judgment against you. stick with the safe information such as YOUR BIRTH DATE, THE LAST 4 DIGITS OF YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, AND YOUR ADDRESS. i recommend these because often times the information may immediately eliminate you as the actual account holder. although, be warned, they may just change the information in their system so it becomes you. i've seen this happen.

2. tell them you don't want to receive any phone calls and want all correspondence in writing. it stops all the annoying phone calls.

3. tell them "don't write and don't call." this is also an option and prevents them from contacting you, EVER. however, be warned, this doesn't prevent them from sending you an initial contact verifying the debt or filing suit against you.

4. have them verify the debt. pursuant to the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), as the consumer, you are entitled to documentation that verifies the amount of the debt and that you owe said amount. after you request such documentation, if they fail to send it to you, they cannot legally pursue you for it.

5. tell them you dispute the debt. this only works if the account isn't yours, you already paid it, or the amount's incorrect. there are no other circumstances to dispute the debt. being unable to pay it is not a dispute.

refer to the FDCPA (federal law regulating debt collection) as well as any applicable state statutes. the FDCPA is pretty simple to read. i believe NJ doesn't have any state statutes regulating collections and relies on federal lie.

i recommend performing these 5 steps first before becoming completely embroiled in any discussion with a debt collector that's calling you. many times ppl start talking to the collector, explaining about circumstances, hardships, etc.

let me clue you in on something: they don't care. AT ALL.

most collection agents are on the computer as they talk to you, with your file open in front of them, and taking down all the important information e.g. if you're going to pay, boo-hoo sob story, etc. the end-all-be-all is they want to get paid. that's it.

there are tactics and certain circumstances that warrant not paying an outstanding debt and negotiating a smaller payment or a payment plan. it's not really that hard. collectors are always authorized to some degree to negotiate with you. usually, if the debt's legit, i have no problem paying it, however, since Alliance One was such a bastard on the phone, i am praying for an FDCPA violation by them. based on our previous convos, i don't see it being that difficult. and each violation results in up to a $1,000 fine.

please, please, bring it. we could use the money.

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