Feeling frustrated by robocalls on your cellphone? Imagine being able to make the company behind the automatic dialing pay you $500 or more per call! One man did it and here’s his story.
Dish Network fined over robocalling
Chester Moore of West Virginia was never a Dish Network customer. But he had a cellphone number that was previously owned by a customer who did owe money to the satellite company.
That little discrepancy didn’t stop Dish from robocalling Chester’s phone an alleged 7 or 8 times a week for 8 months in 2012. On 2 separate occassions, Chester told Dish representatives that he wasn’t their man. Each time he was promised the automated debt collection dialing would stop. But it never did.
After a total of 31 calls, Chester got so angry he sued Dish. Now a judge has awarded Chester $22,500 for “emotional distress, frustration, worry, anger and/or loss of capacity to enjoy life,”
That’s $500 for 24 calls before Chester told them to stop it -and- $1,500 for each of 7 calls after he gave them fair warning!
The robocalls were deemed “in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits non-emergency auto dials to cell-phone customers who have not given prior consent,” according to The New York Post.
Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors
If you legitimately owe a debt, you have specific rights under federal law. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when dealing with collectors:
- Always record any calls from/to a collector. Both parties must consent to recording in California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
- If your debt is outside the statute of limitations, you are not required to pay up. However, you should honor your obligations when you’re financially able to do so. The statute of limitations is 3 to 4 years on many debts in most states. Yet a negative mark resulting from a delinquent account can hang out on your credit for up to 7 years.
- You have the right to tell a collector never to contact you again. Use a drop dead letter and send it via certified mail. You can still, however, be sued against the debt even after sending this letter.
- If you legitimately owe money and wish to make a deal to pay, never give a collector your checking account number over the phone. Collectors routinely take more money than they say they’ll take. Pay only by money order.
- Never pay one cent until you have an agreement in writing stating your payment(s) will resolve the debt in full.