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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2007 12:40 am 
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Harassing Calls from Creditors: How to Stop Them
Reported by: Alexis Wiley
Thursday, May 24, 2007 @05:31pm

There's nothing wrong with a friendly call from a creditor reminding you to pay your bill. But, what if those calls go from friendly to harassing? That's exactly what one Ark-La-Tex family says they're dealing with on a daily basis. "We started getting phone call and the calls were just back to back and the phone calls were just insane," Sheila Futch, a Bossier City resident, said.

With 3 kids and a full time college schedule, Sheila Futch has enough to worry about. Now, she says dealing with one of her creditors is a full time job. "Everybody was really nice in the beginning," Futch said, " but as the years went by that's when the harassing started." Sheila and her husband took out a $13,000 loan from HFC. She says they usually pay on time, but, last month, they couldn't . That's when Sheila says HFC started calling. "Between the 28th and the 2nd of April, they called us 46 times," Futch said. Sheila says the calls came at least 6 times day; even on weekends. "My phone would ring and I would jump," she said.

The Futch family attorney, consumer rights expert David Szwak, says creditors are using auto-dialers and call centers in other countries to reach delinquent customers. "There's literally a person half way around the world who's harrasing you about the payments you're behind on," Szwak said. According to the Fair Debt Collection Act, collection agencies cannot call after 7:00 pm or more than a few times every day. However, since HFC is the Futch Family's original creditor, the company does not have to abide by those rules. Szwak, however, says original creditors are subject to state privacy and harassment laws. He says consumers should send their creditors letters telling them to stop calling immediately. If they don't stop, Szwak says you should consider taking that creditor to court.

The Futch family's complaints were reported to HFC's customer service department. In a statement submitted to KTAL, HFC says quote "We employ industry leading best practices. We are confident that we are treating our customers fairly and with integrity."

http://www.arklatexhomepage.com/content ... /?cid=4146

_________________
David Szwak
Chairman, Consumer Protection Section, Louisiana State Bar Association
Bodenheimer, Jones & Szwak
509 Market Street, 7th Floor
Mid South Tower
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
318-221-6444
Fax 318-221-6555


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