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Debt Tagging – The Newest Craze

December 27, 2011

I Am Being Garnished For What? Recently, someone sent me a story in the Orange County Register about California State Senator Lou Correa who received a phone call from his payroll department at the state informing him that they received a wage garnishment as a result of a judgment against him.   He thought it was a joke but soon found out that it was very real.  The debt was actually owed by someone with an almost similar name.  Sen. Correa even previously told the debt collector that the debt wasn’t his but that didn’t seem to matter or stop the debt collector from issuing the wage garnishment against the Senator’s wages.  For their troubles, the debt collector’s action caused the Senator to plan to convene a hearing on debt collectors and the practice of “debt tagging”.  Debt tagging is the practice of collecting a another person‘s debt from you.  For those interested in the story, it can be found here, http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2011/06/03/debt-collector-erroneously-garnishes-oc-lawmakers-wages/84371/.

Another case of debt tagging was also just reported where the wrongfully garnished debtor sued the judgment creditor and its law firm for twice attempting to garnish the plaintiff’s wages, including a successful second attempt that resulted in a wage garnishment even though the creditor’s law firm failed to attend a required hearing.  This is an even more egregious case because the law firm collecting on the debt was informed by their own client that the law firm was going after the wrong person. The jury awarded the plaintiff $1.26 million for being subjected to this harassment.  The link to this story is supplied here, http://www.collectionscreditrisk.com/news/woman-awarded-in-collection-wage-garnishment-case-3007259-1.html

I know that it sounds unimaginable that you could have your wages garnished for a debt that is not yours but sadly, this is happening to people around the country on an all-too-frequent basis.  Debt collectors will take action against someone with the same or similar sounding name hoping that the person who bank account they levy or whose wages they garnish, will not fight the garnishment or levy.  This conduct is illegal and has gotten at least two creditors in the news.

While I encourage the California State Legislature and all other legislative bodies to make these recalcitrant creditors responsible for their actions, it is clear that the only way to change the practice is by bringing an action against these collection firms and make them pay for their conduct.   The more that the court system sees that this illegal conduct happens with regularity, the more opportunities juries will have to make the creditors pay for their actions.

If you are the victim of debt tagging or other creditor abuses, please call my office for a free consultation.

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From → Debt

One Comment
  1. RBDC permalink

    How to reverse boycott debt collectors.

    When a debt collector/debt collection/debt buyer company can repeatedly call with the intent of getting money their customers can repeatedly answer or call back with the intent of not giving them any. They need people to pay with as little talk as possible. They don’t want to talk with people who know they are never going to pay. Be all talk and no pay. Answer when convenient. Call back. Give no information. Verify nothing. Ask as many questions as you can. Answer none.

    Don’t ignore/block/report them. It doesn’t work. These folks want you to ignore them for as long as you can stand to or until you give them something valuable like money or information. Ignoring them is being their good customer. Sending a cease and desist is giving information. It lets them know you are still alive and remain their good customer. Preparing to initiate unlikely individual legal battles is being their good customer.

    Be their bad customer. Make them talk to you fruitlessly for as long as they can stand to or until they stop selecting you as their customer. These companies cannot spend seconds much less minutes on the phone with every person who will never send them a dime. But they don’t know who that is. You do. That knowledge is power. Every second you can keep their staff on the phone will render their business less profitable giving them a reason to never call you again.

    Calling will not reset your SOL. Making a partial payment will.

    One person who does this likes to ask general questions they should but usually won’t answer, “May I have the name and address of your agent for service of process?” Calmly and slowly ask them to spell every word in the address. Read it back for verification. Control the pace. If they are rushing then politely ask them to slowly repeat. “Are you a corporation and if so in which state are you incorporated?” Repeat your questions when you don’t get direct answers. When they won’t answer a question ask, “Would you like to comply with the business and professions codes of your state?” That is usually the point when they hang up on me but if they say they want to comply then begin your questions again.

    Repeat while you have the spare time. These folks have many victims and few operators. If everyone calls back but pays nothing the mass auto-dialer business model becomes unprofitable. Don’t aid and comfort the enemy by ignoring them. Call! Have a nice long slow friendly chat! Make them hang up first.

    Press 2 for Spanish.

    There are certainly enough victims to take down debt collectors so ignoring/blocking seems downright Orwellian. Really? We’re just going to passively submit and go with a block list or however we manage ignoring an endless stream of unwanted phone calls day after day? No! Unite or remain conquered. Answer/return every call – become well practiced at keeping these folks on the phone – or count yourself not amongst the free.

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