For six weeks Carol Barnett was reluctant to pick up the phone... concerned it might be a collection agent with a case of mistaken identity.
She says everyone who called insisted she was someone else. They told her. she was Carol Egolf and owed Chase Bank more than
Carol says, "She absolutely refused to acknowledge the fact that there was no Carol Egolf at this house. This is the right telephone number, the right address."
Then Carol says the calls escalated.
She was hearing from two different collection agencies, National Action Financial Services and Creditor's Exchange. Both demanded repayment of Carol Egolf's loan.
Colorado has debt protection laws and Carol followed the advice she was given by authorities, but it didn't stop the calls.
Carol adds, "Neither one of us were sleeping extremely well and we both at two different times thought we were going to consult a lawyer."
As a last resort Carol made a Call for Action. I did a little research online and found the Better Business Bureau had given National Action Financial Services an "F" rating for having 330 complaints against it.
I also was able to find the name and number of a man in charge of the collection agency and he immediately put a stop to the calls.
Carol says, "It's an absolute blessing that this has gone away and we are so grateful to you for finding that for us."
Now Carol and her husband Charles can relax.
So what are the rules when it comes to collection agencies? Katie Carrol with the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado says, "there's an act, a law that regulates this and ensures that debt collectors, legitimate debt collectors behave with respect, in a non-hositle and non-threatening way."
The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is designed to protect you. The law tells collectors they can't call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
They can't make false or misleading statements or use profanity. The law also prohibits companies from calling you once you tell them to stop at work and at home. Their only contact then can be through a lawsuit.
A few months ago Colorado Attorney General John Suthers warned about a spike in collection agency complaints. His office gets about 800 such complaints a year.
To report a debt collector contact the Colorado Collection Agency Board in the Attorney General's office at (303) 866-5304 or the Consumer Hotline at (800) 222-4444.