2 Words used to turn a $8,250 credit card debt into actually getting a $9,250 Check
Illegal Cell Phone Collection Calls in Georgia CASE STUDY
Alright, episode number two. I’m Joseph McClelland. I’m a consumer attorney, and today we’re going to talk about illegal cell phone calls, a case study about a client with credit card debt. And so what that means is we’re going to talk about something that – a case that I’ve worked on that had good results, so you can see it in action.
Now, the case I’m going to choose is a rather small case and I wanted to choose a small case, to be frank that is easier to believe. As you heard in the last podcast and you may have seen it on one of my courses, the TCPA is a penalty of $500 per phone call, and if we can improve that they willfully made those phone calls or intentionally did it, then that number could go up to $1500 per phone call.
And when you’re talking about hundreds of cell phone calls, those numbers can get up there pretty quickly. So today I wanted to talk about a smaller case that I worked and show you how it played out and what happened.
So the background of the story is that I used to be a general practitioner lawyer which means that I used to handle all types of cases, so adoption to criminal law, to wills, personal injury – you name it.
I know how to – I research the law, find out how to make it happen. Alright, so I know a lot about the law, but now I only focus on consumer law, but when people call, they still call for old things that I used to do or for just general questions.
So a gentleman called me up and he asked me a general question and so I wanted to be polite, so I gave him some information. We discussed the ins and outs of his case.
What I told him would be private, but at the end of that conversation, I told him that I focus on consumer law and he asked what it was. And I told him by saying I stopped cell phone calls.
And so I asked him, did he have anybody calling his cell phone currently or in the past, trying to collect any money. And he said that he did and it was his current credit card company. He had gotten behind and they were blowing his cell phone up. I said okay.
Now I asked him to think back of when he opened the credit card, did he have that same cell phone number, and he said that he did. I said, “Okay, well let me ask you this. Did you actually give them that cell phone number, like put it on the application?”
And he thought about it and he said, “You know what? I think I did.” I said, “Okay, well that means that you gave them permission to call your cell phone with a robo dialer. That basically is what that means.”
Now we talked a little bit about robo dialing in the first episode, but to continue, so I told him, if you gave them your cell phone number or you think that you did, it means that you gave them permission. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take away that permission, and the courts have been very clear on that.
You have the right to stop the phone calls anytime you want to regardless if it is credit card debt, medical debt, cell phone debt or other
. So I told the client, “Listen, if you want to those calls to stop, answer the phone and be polite…” , we need to be polite in this world, “…and instruct the person that at this time you can’t pay and that you would like them to stop calling.”
And that was it. I think he went on to tell them that he wants to pay, intends to pay when his financial situation is corrected. He would contact them.
And so he wrote down the date and time that he called per my instructions. And had the credit card company follow the law, they would have stopped calling him and they could have mailed him letters and bills, but they didn’t. They started to, or continued rather to call his cell phone.
Now like we just talked about, since he told them not to call, those calls are without permission and that means that the credit card collectors are using a robo dialer. Those calls were illegal.
Now they continued to call a little under 20 times.
In fact, it was probably closer to 14 if my memory holds. And so he contacts me, he called months later and he says, “Hey, I’ve got a list. They started calling. They stopped calling. They called this many times.
What can we do?” So I got him in my office and pulled his credit email and it turns out that he owed them about $8600. So what we did is we filed a lawsuit claiming that it was illegal debt collection activity by using his cell phone.
And within a couple months, first we had that credit card debt of $8600 completely deleted and taken off his credit report.
The second thing we had is a check for just short of $10,000 from the credit card company and that’s it.
That’s what happens in these types of cases.
And the reason why they paid again, and the reason why they deleted that debt is because they basically–and we settled, but basically, they were using robo dialer.
And that means that they were using a computer that itself contacts numerous people all at the same time, so that the agent, as soon as the debt collector, as soon as he finishes talking to someone, puts down the phone, his phone is going to beep that there is another – that there is someone on the line to debt collect on.
And that’s why if you ever picked up the phone and heard dead air or heard music or heard a pre-recorded message, most likely that was because the computer had just determined that a real live human being was on the phone and it was trying to transfer you to the next available agent.
And so that’s a robo dialer so that debt collector didn’t dial your phone number, they dialed a bunch of them all at the same time.
And that’s what makes it illegal if they’re doing that without permission.
And that’s what they did to my client, and so he instructed them not to call because he had given them the permission to begin with.
Now let’s assume that he had never given permission on this credit card.
Let’s say that when he opened that credit card, he didn’t even have a cell phone,
or let’s say he had a cell phone, but it was a different cell phone number that he later changed.
Every single phone call they would have made to his cell phone now would have been illegal, and that could have been hundreds of phone calls. In fact, that’s the general scenario that I get in my office, is that someone opened a debt, they didn’t even have the cell phone number.
The card goes into collections and debt collectors find their cell phone numbers and start calling. Where did they find your cell phone numbers? It’s easy, it’s on your credit report.
They have the right to pull your credit report because you were basically involved in some sort of financing, and so that’s how they get it.
They can get it from tons of other sources. People started off with no cell phone on record and then they found the cell phone and started buzzing them, and those calls are illegal.
So we’re going to wrap that up. That’s the first case study I’m going to give you. The gentleman who had given his cell phone number over, who had legitimately owed over 8000 bucks to a company, who told them, “Hey, I’m sorry I can’t pay, but stop calling.”
And they continued to call. The end result was that he no longer owed the credit card company money, and they ended up writing him a check. So we’re going to end it right there.
This is episode two. I hope everyone is loving it. If you’ve got a debt collector, you got to understand the system is so broken that they just run crazy.
No one is regulating these guys enough.
If you’ve been poor or if you’ve had problems paying your bills in the last four years, you definitely need to understand the fact that your cell phone requires permission to call it, and if you tell them to stop calling, they have a problem.
You just got to find the solution and which attorney is going to help you. Alright that’s number two, best wishes to all. It has been fantastic.