Harassed by Debt Collectors, One Man Sues and Wins $1,700

    Andrew Katzman recognizes that his story – debt collector ends up paying a bill – is one of life’s ultimate ironies.

    “It is incredible irony, almost a paradox, isn’t it?” Katzman told Debt.org. “These guys (debt collectors) kept harassing me over a bill I didn’t owe, and then they end up having to pay me because of it. I thought it was great.”

    The story of Katzman’s troubles with three debt collection agencies is a familiar one – paperwork problem between doctors and an insurance company – though him receiving $1,700 for being harassed, is a little unusual.

    Katzman had a procedure done at a hospital in New York that he thought should have been covered by his insurance company. The insurance company asked for more paperwork from the hospital before it would pay. The hospital, in turn, asked to be paid, while it looked for the paperwork.

    Katzman, who now lives in Florida, had to intervene, and eventually the insurance company got what it needed and paid the $500 bill.

    Phone Never Stopped Ringing

    Unfortunately, the hospital’s accountants already had turned the matter over to collections, and Katzman’s phone started ringing soon afterward. For the next four months, it rang … and rang … and rang.

    “They had me on autodial and kept leaving this urgent-sounding message that made it sound like something life-threatening had happened,” Katzman said. “The message said ‘We have an important matter to discuss with you. Call us immediately.’

    “So when I finally called them back, and they said it was a collection agency, and they wanted me to pay a bill I knew I already had taken care of … well, that got me mad.”

    He told the collection agencies that the bill was paid and asked them not to call him anymore, but his cellphone kept ringing. He estimates they called him two or three times a day, 10-15 days a month. They called him at home early in the morning and late at night. Several times, they called him at work.

    Rules Were Broken

    Most times, he let the calls go to voice mail, but occasionally he would answer and ask them again to stop calling. When the phone still kept ringing, Katzman went online and looked up the rules for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

    “That’s when I realized these guys were breaking rules almost every time they called,” he said. “One guy told me there was a lawsuit pending against me unless I paid right then. A woman told me she had the bill right in front of her and that I owed it and asked me would I be paying with credit card or check today?

    “They were just so aggressive and demanding and wouldn’t listen to me at all. That’s when I decided I had had enough, and it was time to put a stop to this nonsense.”

    Katzman hired a law firm to write a cease-and-desist letter to the collection agency. He also turned over the careful notes he had taken during phone calls from the collection agencies. The calls stopped almost immediately, and with the help of his copious notes, his attorneys won a settlement, without ever having to go to court. Katzman took home $1,700.

    “When the collection agencies start calling, the key is to know the FDCPA rules,” Katzman said. “Even if you do owe them money, which I didn’t, but even if you do, you still have rights. Tell them you want to do all the correspondence via mail and to stop calling.

    “And if you quote them the FDCPA rules and they still don’t stop, go get a lawyer.”

    In debt? We can help!

    • Amount
    • Type
    • Contact

    How much do you owe?

    What can we help you with today?

    Related Articles

    American families are having trouble with understanding finance

    Financial Literacy a Tough Test for Most Americans

    The latest trends in spending and debt indicate that America already has forgotten any lessons we might have learned when the bubble burst on the U.S. economy in 2008. The reputable and renowned Pew Charitable Trust says that 80% of American adults are in ...

    Continue Reading
    Prepaid Reloadable Card Card

    GPR Cards An Alternative To Banks, Credit Cards

    If you like the convenience of a credit card, but lack discipline and overspend when using one, a general purpose reloadable (GPR) card could be the way to stabilize your finances. GPR cards, more commonly referred to as pre-paid credit cards, are safer ...

    Continue Reading
    Tips for banking and their new rules

    How Credit Unions And Banks Are “Gamifying” Savings

    Nobody wants to play games with their investment dollars, but what if the game was rigged so you couldn’t lose? Credit unions in five states have come up with a savings account – remember them? – that includes a chance to win monthly, quarterly and ...

    Continue Reading
    Man Filing Papers For Bankruptcy

    3 Reasons To File For Bankruptcy

    There aren’t many words in the English language less understood and more avoided than bankruptcy. “There definitely is a stigma attached to it,” Jeff Badgley said. “When people hear it, they get really uncomfortable.” Badgley sees the ...

    Continue Reading
    Couple Stressed out over Finances

    Most Americans Still Stressed Over Money

    If money is causing stress and anxiety in your house, take it easy. You’ve got company. The same thing is happening in the house next door. And the one across the street. And just about every other home in your neighborhood. The American Psychological ...

    Continue Reading
    Save money while helping the planet

    Save Some Money While Saving The Planet

    Most people know their financial footprint in the world, but probably couldn’t tell you their carbon footprint on the planet. Earth Day celebrations, which happen every year on April 22, remind us that we are responsible for keeping the planet clean, ...

    Continue Reading
    Bonus Money

    What Would You Do With Millions In Bonus Money?

    Imagine for a moment, what would happen if the general manager for your company walked in today and announced that 32 lucky employees would be selected to receive millions of dollars in bonuses. Bedlam, right? Uncontrollable excitement. People so wired ...

    Continue Reading
    prepaid card

    Prepaid Cards Gaining Popularity, Despite Fees

    Would you pay your bank $5 a month (or more?) just so you can withdraw money you have deposited there? As absurd as that sounds, a growing number of consumers are doing a very similar thing for the privilege of using a prepaid debit card. Large banks ...

    Continue Reading
    Get Help Now

    Overwhelmed with debt? You have options for lower monthly payments!

    x