Debt collector accused of leaving racist, profane message - WNEM TV 5

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Debt collector accused of leaving racist, profane message

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© CBS 5 News © CBS 5 News
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Fed up with the tactics of debt collectors, 200,000 people file complaints each year with the Federal Trade Commission.

Of those, however, only 10,000 file federal lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) according to Phoenix-based attorney Marshall Meyers.

"I think what the game is in the debt collection industry is how far can we push the envelope," said Meyers.

Meyers was not surprised to hear about a new lawsuit alleging racist and profane voicemails were allegedly left by a collector from National Credit Adjusters, LLC.

"Can't stand these fu***ng ni***rs. F*** em," says a voice on the voicemail of St. Louis resident Calvin Williams. "Can't stand these f**ing ni*****. F*** em."

A reporter from St Louis got no answers when he went to the headquarters of National Credit Adjusters in Hutchinson, Kansas.

CBS5 went to the company's call center in Chandler and met Karl Krum whose LinkedIn page identifies him as the Director of Operations.

"I'm not gonna talk about anything. You can just go ahead and leave. I won't answer any questions. Just leave," said Krum.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 82 complaints were filed against National Credit Adjusters between July 15, 2013 and April 23, 2014.

Attorney Russell Thompson represents a woman who was allegedly harassed at work.

"They would call her co-workers. They would call her HR," said Thompson. "As a result of their repeated calls she's since had a decrease in pay and she's been demoted in her job."

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law that governs debt collection. Passed in 1977, it includes provisions that spell out what a debt collector has to say, when they are allowed to call, and things they are not allowed to say. For instance, a debt collector cannot threaten a person with jail time.

"It's always going to be more profitable to violate the law and deal with the small amount of people who are aware of their rights," says Meyers.

Because the FDCPA was written 37 years ago, Thompson believes the financial penalties spelled out for violators are inadequate for preventing debt collection companies from following the law.

St. Louis attorney Rick Cassetta represents National Credit Adjusters in the case involving Calvin Williams. Cassetta tells CBS5 he will vigorously defend the company against the allegations made by Williams.

"The company has a training program for it's employees," said Williams. "The company tries to conduct itself in a responsible manner at all times. There are procedures and protocols in place to ensure employees are following the FDCPA and other applicable laws."

Watch the original story from St. Louis station KMOV HERE.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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