Recent reports from multiple news outlets have highlighted a recent dispute with a senior citizen from Florida and her issues with alleged violations from a debt collection firm hired by Bank of America Corp. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports a Florida woman (plaintiff) has retained legal representation and filed a lawsuit regarding collection tactics used to collect from her. Part of the issue is the debt actually belongs to her deceased husband but she claims she has been consistently harassed to make payment.
The collection agency in question is West Asset Management, based in Omaha, NE. Late 2011 a Florida judge considered collection attempts a form of debt collection harassment . The 68-year old woman mentioned that debt collectors from this firm continuously contacted her several times a day regarding $16,000 in credit card debt from her late husband who passed away from colon cancer. She mentioned she had little in her name to pay toward the debt.
A recording that was obtained with her and the debt collector displayed questionable collection tactics. The attorney representing the Florida woman claims the debt collectors were using "psychological warfare" in hopes of collecting from grief-stricken family members for debt of their lost loved one. Most often, family members are not responsible for personal debt of a deceased individual. The plaintiff will be awarded punitive damages from the collection firm and Bank of America sometime this year, according to the WSJ.
The case may continue to encourage debtors to exercise their rights regarding unethical debt collection practices. This also may encourage lenders to review practices of collectors they choose to work with. If you have questions or concerns regarding debt or you are being sued for debt collection practices, contact an atoorney.