Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing!

How do you get your number off the list of some collection agency.

It’s not me, I have no debts in collection. But I keep getting calls. And from a computer no less. The computer says that someone named Chera Moya has a important personal business. They call three times every ten days. I press the 4 button to tell them that that person is not at this number and they say that they will correct their records, but the calls keep coming.

And here’s the confusing part – no one has had our number before. When the whole 213/323 split happened, we got this number as we were moving, it’d never been assigned to anyone before that.

Aside from saying that I am this person and following the voice menu (I did it once before in order to find out what the hell they wanted) and copying down the number and calling at their insane office hours (7:30 AM to 3:30 PM EST), I don’t know how to get them to stop calling. How do you get computers to stop calling your home. How is this allowed? Isn’t it rather like spam?

9 thoughts on “Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing!”

  1. Recently had the same problem on my private, unlisted number.

    Finally called them back on that stupid number the automated message spews out.

    Gave them a stern talking to.*

    No more calls.

    *Note: Must drop at least 4 f*bombs to have impact. (Seriously.)

  2. Thanks, Fred!

    Yes, cheremoya like the fruit … every time that computer lady calls, I’m always hoping that I’ll hear something different … and worse, the collection amount is like $70 … they’ve been calling me since the beginning of the year for 70 freakin’ dollars.

  3. I worked for a grand total of 3 months for one of these Collection outfits about 7 years ago back in Fairfax, Va. It was an education.

    Such places typically maintain a computerized database of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of telephone numbers that are associated with a respective “unpaid” account that the Collection Agency has Purchased (for 5-10 cents on the dollar owed) from a private business/professional group/public company. Getting an agency to remove a single telephone number from their list is no big deal for them financially

    When I was working at such a place, people who were called incorrectly would usually just call the Agency back and ask us what they needed to provide to prove that the debtor/party no longer resided at this location. The Collection Agency wasn’t looking to hassle the wrong people or incurr penalites, so they would usually move quickly to delete the wrong numbers.

    I guess the move to automation is an effort to collect on low-dollar, past-due accounts. Running a database, a bunch of live “agents,” telecom services and office space was expenisve and limited the company I was with to collecting on accounts of like $10000 or more.


    Oh yeah, and if you owe money to a company and a third-party collection agency has purchased your debt to said “company,” then you should definitely pay whatever money the collection agency asks for, right? If seen from a business operator’s perspective -yes. If seen from a debtor’s perspective -no, if you can possibly avoid it.

  4. Oddly enough in my life, Chris, I’ve encountered a lot of wrong numbers from collection agencies. I’ve always had a hard time getting them to believe me that the person in question does not live there (and probably never did, as I’ve usually kept my numbers for long periods of time and they often start calling years into my possession of them).

    Oddly enough, I do not get mail from collection agencies.

    I don’t think it should be incumbent upon me to prove that I’m not the person in question, it should be incumbent upon them to prove that the information they have is correct.

    I understand that the standard way to elude collection is to say that you’re not that person when they call, but I’m going to guess there there’s a high rate of people giving false information when they plan to default on payment. And I’d think that after weeks of calls by the computer to no effect, they might actually have a person follow up.

    Of course from what I know about some of those collection people, the computer can’t be abusive or insulting … so there’s a plus in the column of computers.

    I’ve experienced several different versions of these computers calling me this year. One being an automated collect call service (in Spanish) that would not allow me to say that they had the wrong number and they called at least five times after midnight over several days.

    What I want is someone to stop computers from calling people. The only one that I actually like is that automated thing that calls me to remind me that I have a doctors appointment or wake up call I set. The rest of those calling-computers can burn in hell – I’m talking about those political announcements, solicitations for refinancing, newspaper subscription services and of course the collection agencies.

    I don’t pursue any of this as a project because there are far more important problems in the world to tackle. So this ends up being a blog post. I hope that the business model of using computers to call people will just not be successful and it will fade away.

    I guess if that collection computer calls again this weekend, I’ll say that I am that person once again so that I can get the phone number to call them back ala Jessica’s suggestion.

  5. Cybele – I’m guessing my landline phone number is going to somehow find itself on some computerized lists pretty soon, since I’ve been out here for two years now :(

    Collections Agencies deal in a large number of telephone numbers. If one tel. number doesn’t yield anything, you move on to the next. But, Collections Agencies do “pay” for those phone numbers, so they aren’t typically going to throw their money away by deleting a number at the oral request of an agitated party.

    When we were chewed out by a person on the receiving end of a collections call, we were instructed to make a “notation” by that number that would take it out of circulation in the database for a couple of months to let things cool off. A few months later, the database would float the number to an agent again to see if he/she might encounter a more receptive party on the other end of the line.

    Keep in mind that Collections Agencies have 7 years to work with on a debt. If a business account is 6 months overdue, the Collections Agency buys the account and contact information and has 6.5 years to tap that number and see if it can’t make it produce $.

    I guess if you are dealing with numerous misplaced calls from such agencies, then you probably want to get a local/state/federal government rundown of what you need to do to eliminate the problem. But, if it’s just one or two such calls, I’d probably just invest a couple of minutes, call the place and mail copies of whatever documents they ask to support what you assert. I just can’t guarantee that ripping them up (as fun as it may be :) is going to pull your name off the list forever, is the only thing.

    My regrets that these jokers got your number.

  6. 326145: Hey, does anyone know where I can find a list of gas stations with low prices in my area?

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