GC Services Called Neighbors, FL Consumer Alleges

by Donald Petersen on March 7, 2011

GC Services allegedly called two different neighbors asking them to take the message to the consumers and ask them to call GC Services’ telephone number right away or that GC Services’ call concerned an urgent matter according to a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuit.

According to the FDCPA lawsuit, GC Services told the first neighbor (the husband) that they needed to get in contact with the consumer immediately regarding an urgent matter and instructed the neighbor to give consumer GC Service’s telephone number and have the consumer call GC Services immediately.

Two days later, GC Services allegedly called the neighbors and reached the wife. GC Services allegedly told the neighbor wife that it was highly important that GC Services’ employee get in touch with consumer and instructed the neighbor to write down a telephone number and deliver it to the consumers with a message that they should return GC Services’ call right away.

According to the complaint, the neighbor wife knew that the number belonged to GC Services and that GC Services is a debt collection agency because her husband had researched the number after they received the first call.

The Fair Debt complaint alleges that the neighbor wife informed GC Services’ employee that she could not believe that GC Services was calling the neighbors and informed GC Services that she would not deliver any messages for them. The complaint further alleges that the neighbor wife also instructed GC Services to stop calling their home.

According to the Fair Debt complaint, the neighbor wife then called the consumer to inform her that she, as well as another neighbor, were receiving telephone calls from a debt collector concerning her.

Collection agencies should not leave messages with neighbors.
Collection agencies who tell consumer’s neighbors that they are attempting to collect a debt, violate the FDCPA. Collection agencies who leave messages for consumers with neighbors without disclosing that the caller is a debt collector also violate the FDCPA.

The facts alleged in the Fair Debt complaint are just that — alleged facts. The truth or falsity of the facts alleged against GC Services have not been proven in court.

This lawsuit alleging that GC Services violated the Fair Debt Collect Practices by calling the consumers’ neighbors and leaving messages with the consumer’s neighbors illustrates how the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can protect consumers from calling their neighbors while attempting to collect a debt.

I am a Florida debt harassment lawyer who represents consumers in lawsuits against collection agencies.

If a collection agency is calling you attempting to collect a debt from you or calling someone else (such as your neighbor) about you, I invite you to fill out the Collection Harassment Contact Form in the right hand column of this page and I will contact you. If you are a Florida resident, you are also welcome to call my office to discuss your situation and how I might be able to help you.

(C) 2011 – 2013 Donald E Petersen
All rights reserved.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

CB March 9, 2011 at 1:49 PM

No one likes to receive collection calls, but having worked in that field for four years I learned that the best way to handle these calls is to own up to your responsabilies and make what ever arrangement you can make. If you ingnore the calls and letters being sent to you, calls to your place of employment, and you ignore messages being given to you by family members who have been contacted, because you’re either avoiding the calls, or you’ve changed your number and never bothered to update the information, that’s when neighbors get calls tyring to reach you. That is NOT a violation of the FDCPA as far as I know nor is it harassement. I would like to know who is going to hold these consumers accountable? Regardless of the situation they find themselves under, there is always an arrangement that can be made!

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Julia April 7, 2011 at 8:33 AM

except Wisconsin and Minnesota calling neighbors is in no way a violation of the FDCPA. Calling anyone who can get a message to the debtor, as long as no 3rd party disclosure takes place is a perfectly legitimate method of skip tracing. Collectors have no control over 3rd parties who research the agency who is calling. By law we they have to divulge their employer when asked. By the way you can call WI and MN neighbors as long as you don’t ask them to take a message.

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Don Petersen April 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Julia:

A couple of debt collectors have made arguments similar to your position either privately or through posted comments. So, I think I should respond to your comment.

I do not know the laws of WI or MN. But, I disagree with your conclusions about the FDCPA.

The FDCPA allows debt collectors to obtain location information from a neighbor — not to leave messages for the consumer to call the collection agency.

Given the number of debt collectors who have disagreed with me about this violation, I’m not surprised that so many consumers successfully sue under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for this type of violation.

Thanks for visiting my site and your respectful comments.

Don Petersen

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