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Army veteran sues debt collector for egregious harassment, P. 2

In the last post, this blog began a discussion of a lawsuit recently filed by a disabled servicemember, who says that a bill collector unlawfully seized funs in a savings account that are exempt from attachment in a wage garnishment or bank account seizure action under federal law. The story left off after the disabled veteran challenged the bank account seizure in court, where the bill collector admitted that the funds were unlawfully seized.

The lawyer involved in the court hearing reportedly told the Army veteran in the parking lot that he was going to need to hire a lawyer to get the money back. The vet instead called the collection agency, and an unidentified assistant with the debt collection firm echoed the sentiment that the vet would need a lawyer. But it got worse, according to the recent lawsuit.

The assistant reportedly used profanity in the conversation as the harassing language escalated. The veteran says that the assistant went on to rant about the vet owing money while on disability and other matters in language that became even more offensive.

The court documents state that the assistant ranted on by saying, "Pay us your money! You can't afford an attorney. You owe us," according to Courthouse News. The assistant continued on by saying that the assistant hoped the couple would divorce, while calling the veteran a euphemism for a donkey.

As if that was not enough, the court documents reportedly say that the assistant went so far as to say, "If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off social security while the rest of us honest Americans work out a---- off. Too bad; you should have died," according to Courthouse News.

The bill collection agency says that if true, the allegations in the lawsuit violate the policies of the firm, according to the Huffington Post.

Not only are certain disability benefits exempt from collections, consumer protection laws prohibit debt collectors from using abusive or harassing language in an effort to collect on a debt. The Army veteran and his wife are suing for more than the mere return of $6,000 that had been seized. They are also suing for justice, and for damages-including actual damages, statutory damages and punitive damages.

Sources:

  • Courthouse News, "The Worst Debt Collector in the World?," Jamie Ross, Oct. 12, 2012
  • Huffington Post, "Michael Collier, Disabled Vet, Claims Debt Collection Agency Insulted Him, Told Him He 'Should Have Died'," Ryan Grenoble, Oct. 17, 2012

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