East Valley woman questions tactics used by debt collector

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by LiAna Gonzales

azfamily.com

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 7 at 5:00 PM

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- A Queen Creek woman is being pursued over a 10-year-old debt, but she doesn't think the debt is legitimate.

Still, Debbie Abram said a debt collector is using all kinds of tactics to get her to hand over money.

Abram said she's always pays her bills on time.

"I try to pay everything at the beginning of a month and we just budget whatever's left over," explained Abram.

So, Abram was pretty surprised when she received a phone call from someone claiming to be with a collection agency.

"It was a young man on the phone saying that I was in trouble for a check fraud," said Abram.

Check fraud! It sounded serious. 

And the guy on the other end of the line sounded serious too, telling Abram if she didn't pay there would be consequences.

"He said 'no it's you, and we need to resolve this situation or we'll suspend your license and issue a warrant for your arrest,'" recalled Abram.

Arrest?! Statements like these are clearly illegal under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

As for that debt Abram reportedly owed, the caller told her it was for a bounced check from 10 years ago.
 
"It was for $170 and because the interest from that point to this point it ended up being $1,170," she explained.

More than $1,100! But it must have been Abram's lucky day because if she agreed to pay they'd reduce the amount to $220.

"I just wanted him to leave me alone and I was willing to pay the $220," she said.

Abram didn't pay a nickel, but she did get an email from the same collection agency, Williams, Scott & Associates, demanding payment.

3 On Your Side discovered there actually is such a company listed with the Better Business Bureau but they have an "F" rating.

And although they list Atlanta as their headquarters, consumers are supposed to call a 602 number, which is here in Phoenix.

3 On Your Side contacted the number and talked to Mr. McDowell, the same guy Debbie talked to.

McDowell wouldn't talk about Abram's case, but Abram said the whole ordeal is suspicious and she's not paying a debt she doesn't owe.

"I think they're trying to scare people and run a scam," Abram stated.

Don't let debt collectors run over you with threats, intimidation or lies. They have rules and you have rights.

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