Recently, while at work, I noticed that I had a missed call on my cell phone. During a break, I checked my voicemail to hear a female voice stating my full first and last name (i use an alias/nickname in my voicemail greeting) & demanding that I return the call. When I called the number back, a male answered, refused to give his name and demanded to know who I was. Without verification of my name (apparently using caller-ID), the man stated my name to me & began advising me of a medical debt that I owed to an area hospital from some expensive tests done about 2 or 3 months before. I let him know that I will deal with the hospital on it, told him times are tight, but I'll get payments to the original creditor. He was rude about it and hung up.
Being that I work for a collections law firm, I know my rights and I know that collector's responsibilities. So, at my next break, I called their number back and again, the same collector answered. I asked for the front desk, he stated he couldn't transfer me because he didn't know the number to the front desk. I asked to speak with a supervisor, he told me NO! I asked for a manager, he told me that the collections manager was not in. I then demanded to speak to the company's in-house attorney... The collector again refused my request!!! I told him that I knew that by law, he could not refuse my request to speak to the attorney. He yelled over me, stating "this is how it's going to be" to which I advised him that if need be, I would have my attorney call. He yelled "Go ahead" and mumbled something else. I advised him this will not continue and I hung up.
I then contacted the original creditor, the hospital and filed a complaint... They told me after placing a call to the agency, that someone would speak to him. I advised the hospital billing dept that not only would that not do, but that I would be refusing to pay collection agency and that they would be forced to send the file back to the hospital. I also told her that I worked for a collections law firm, was well trained in the law in the area of collections and let her know that I am still considering legal action against the agency. I advised her that I would have no problem making payment arrangements with the hospital, but I would not work with the agency at all.
Things you should know about a 3rd party collection agency:
1) they are required to verify who they are speaking with
2) they must state the 'mini-miranda' which includes:
a) the communication is from a debt collector
b) that it is an attempt to collect a debt
c) that any information can be used for the purpose of collecting that debt
3) that the call may be monitored or recorded if applicable in your state
4) they cannot call any numbers known to be cell phones
5) if you state that certain hours or days are inconvenient, they cannot call during those hours or days.
6) if you state that your employer does not allow personal phone calls, that you wish for them not to call at work or that it is inconvenient for you to receive calls at work, they must stop calling you at work.
7) if you tell them to cease and desist, they must stop calling you after they give you the alternative options.
Verona, New York