Local woman pestered by harassing debt collectors
Local woman is harassed by debt collectorsPhoto: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Valley woman says debt collectors' calls have become a nuisance.
"It scared me at first. It kind of shook me up," said Regina Coleman.
Regina said she couldn't believe it. It was back in March when she said someone called claiming to be from Clark County.
"Saying I owe this money. It was two claims, and if I don't pay it, I could get arrested. It was a felony," she said.
Regina was in shock. The caller demanded she pay more than a $1,000 for two different payday loans she doesn't remember getting.
"They told me I need to provide them with my credit or debit card," she said.
And that's not all. If she wasn't willing to pay the debt, she said, they caller threatened to arrest her at work.
"They went so far as to tell me they would meet me at a vacant parking lot," Regina said. "Which come on, that's not going to happen."
Regina said something didn't seem right and she wanted proof.
"I asked him to provide some kind of documentation," she said.
What she got was a letter from C.A.R. and Associates. Regina said she checked her credit report and couldn't find any record of the debt.
Meanwhile, she said the calls continued.
"I just stopped answering. It's gotten to the point where when my phone rings I don't even want to look at who's calling," Regina said.
Regina decided to take action and email Contact 13.
We left several messages with C.A.R. and Associates but no one called us back.
We also couldn't find them at the New York address listed on the letter. Action News had someone check it out and learned it's actually the location for a UPS store. There's no record of the company having a license in New York or Nevada.
We reached out to Clark County. They told us plain and simple that Clark County didn't make those calls and doesn't handle debt collection issues.
Contact 13 also learned the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from abusive practices.
"You can't threaten that they're going to come to your job. They can't threaten that they're going to put you in jail," said Michele Johnson, CEO of the Financial Guidance Center.
Michele said the best thing you can do is educate yourself.
"As a consumer, you have the right to tell a collection agency you don't want them to contact you at all, under any circumstances. And it's then illegal for them to do it," Michele said.
She said it's important to remember if you do owe a debt, a legitimate collection company will negotiate.
"Not everybody has the ability to pay a lump sum," Michele said. "So they're going to work out payments with you."
Regina says that was the biggest red flag. Along with empty threats of arresting her, the caller wasn't willing to work with her.
"I mean, they're not telling me, if it was a payday loan, what company? What was my account number? What day? I had to have signed for it," Regina said. "Nobody is just going to give you this money. They won't show me anything."
Any collection company must provide a written notice of any debt.
Legally, they must give you at least 30 days to respond. In Regina's case, the letter gave her less than a week to make a payment.
If you don't think you owe a debt, don't be afraid to dispute the claim and ask for more proof. If you think you've been mistreated by a harassing debt collector, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.