Persistent calls from debt collection agencies plague Raleigh woman
Posted September 14
Updated September 15
After years of getting calls from debt collectors who were looking for someone else, a Raleigh woman reached out to 5 On Your Side for help.
Carlotta Barbour simply wanted the calls to stop, but collections agencies can be both aggressive and relentless.
The agencies want their money, but there are specific, clear rules about who they can call and when they can call.
"It is frustrating," Barbour said of the calls she couldn't make stop.
For three years, collections agents have called Barbour about someone who used to be married to one of her family members.
Barbour says her family hasn't spoken to the person in "almost 25 years," and she was fed up with the constant nagging from the agents. She says the calls amount to harassment.
"I said, 'I have no contact with her,'" Barbour says of the calls. "I said, 'Could you please take my name out of your system?'"
The callers told Barbour they would, but within a month or so, she'd hear from them again, she said.
"'OK ma'am, you won't get phone calls from us again.' They keep saying that, but you do," Barbour said.
Barbour disconnected her home phone, but the agents tracked down her cellphone number and continued to call.
"The guy says, 'Well, maybe she gave your name and number as like a reference or something,'" Barbour said. "My cellphone number? She doesn't even know it."
After Barbour contacted 5 On Your Side, we called the latest number to call her.
Someone at First Equity Alliance named Scott Bradley answered. Bradley said Barbour's number was a contact on the account in question.
When 5 On Your Side reporter Monica Laliberte explained why WRAL News was calling, Bradley cut her off, saying he "did not care."
He then threatened legal action, told us not to call again and hung up.
Despite Bradley's response, it's important for consumers to know about debt collection laws, which are specific and depend on whether you owe money or are a third party to a debt, meaning you know someone who owes money.
Federal law allows companies to contact third parties one time and allows debt collectors to ask third parties for the phone number, address or company where the person in question works.
They can't discuss the debt itself.
Debt collection companies can't call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., they can't use profanity and they aren't allowed to threaten or harass people in debt or third parties.
To get debt collectors to stop calling, consumers should tell them to stop in writing with a certified letter. Barbour wrote to First Equity Alliance.
"When I'm asking you to leave me alone, leave me alone," Barbour said.
Barbour said she received a phone call from Bradley, who said the company will stop calling her.