JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Protecting yourself from annoying phone calls can pay off and taking the right steps could put money in your pocket.
Action News spoke with several people who get harassing calls from debt collectors, even after they asked to be put on a "do not call" list. Many don't know that it's against the law and that they can get paid per phone call if it continues.
“They say they will take my number off and then I'll get calls still,” said Nechie Nash.
The Consumer Protection Bureau handled more than 88,000 debt collection complaints last year. Whether or not you owe anyone money, excessive calls from debt collectors are illegal.
“They say ‘you owe me money, you gotta pay me and if you don't pay me I’m going to do a, b, c, d.’ Sometimes they will threaten you with arrest, which they can't do, but they do anyway,” said Action News law and safety expert Dale Carson.
Carson said there are state and federal laws to protect you from dealing with harassing phone calls. He said debt collection laws prohibit them from calling you at work, calling you after 9 p.m. and calling your cellphone without permission.
Carson said if you are being harassed, you can take action and receive money.
“The law has built into it basically a fine to those people of about up to $1,000 for every time they call you outside those parameters,” Carson said.
We reached out to the Law Offices of Max Hunter Story, a firm that represents consumers who are dealing with abusive creditors or debt collectors. We’re told that they often file four to five lawsuits a week against debt collectors.
“After you get five or six calls from the same one after telling them not to call, you're just about ready to do it,” said Will Conway.
The best way to make a case is keep track of the phone numbers and take notes of the conversation.