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Attorney Leaves Message on General Office Voicemail after I Answered Complaint

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I was recently served a complaint by a JDB. Using dates just as examples, I filed a response to the complaint on Aug 1. The attorney received it on Aug 3. I also sent my Interrogatories and Request for Admissions. Attorney received those on Aug 4. Everywhere on my documents was a contact phone number – on my cover letters and the court documents. My contact number was shown in 6 different places.

Despite this, someone from the attorney’s office left a message for me in the general mailbox for my job on Aug 5. It was the typical debt collector message saying, “….if this is not xyz person, please hang up now.” Hello, you are calling a business !! How could it possibly be xyz person?

I received no communication at all to the number I gave as the contact when I responded to the complaint. The purpose of requiring a phone number for a legal filing is so that both the court and the parties involved know how to make contact.

This call and message at my job seems to be a retaliatory call IMO. An attempt to embarrass, humiliate and defame me. Surely, they can’t argue this act wasn’t intentional after they ignored the number I gave them and chose instead to leave that message at what they knew was a business.

They’re probably pissed off that I responded and jumped the gun with the Interrogatories and Admissions. I presume they want to propose a settlement. If so, they won’t reach me by leaving messages like that. And now they've pissed me off.

I never sent a cease and desist. Sent a DV only. They never even attempted to contact me via phone prior to me answering their complaint.

Anyone have any thoughts? I would like to notify them that I will be filing a complaint if the shoe fits. This was an outrageous thing to do. Do we need any more proof that these people are lower than scum of the earth?

I'm leaning towards believing that such action might violate something other than the FDCPA - if that. Simply not "fair dealing" as they say in the legal world.

If anyone can share a point of view, please do so.

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Is there a way to get a copy of those VM messages?

Also, file an FDCPA suit, as it appears that these calls are nothing more than to harass you.

Add harassment - maybe 1 year's salary for damages + putative damages too!

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When say "general mailbox", I assume other people in your office hear the message?

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When say "general mailbox", I assume other people in your office hear the message?

Well, anyone who would be in charge of picking up the messages that day. In this case, the president of the company forwarded it to me.

It is a smaller company and we do not have individual mailboxes that the public can access.

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Is there a way to get a copy of those VM messages?

Also, file an FDCPA suit, as it appears that these calls are nothing more than to harass you.

Add harassment - maybe 1 year's salary for damages + putative damages too!

1stStep, I absolutely have a copy of the message on my pc now. It was forwarded to me and I saved it to a separate mp3 file.

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Good...now go forth and file an FDCPA lawsuit.

That's a nice Foti violation right there.

Yep, I finally think I have a nice FDCPA suit.

I might look into getting an attorney to file if they will do it on contingency. Can't see how this isn't a shoe-in. At a minimum, I can get some opinions. I know an attorney will sue CAs for violations, but I wonder how willing they are to sue another attorney. Guess I'll find out.

Thanks for your help. I still need reassurance sometimes as I remain a newbie.

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Yep, I finally think I have a nice FDCPA suit.

I might look into getting an attorney to file if they will do it on contingency. Can't see how this isn't a shoe-in. At a minimum, I can get some opinions. I know an attorney will sue CAs for violations, but I wonder how willing they are to sue another attorney. Guess I'll find out.

Thanks for your help. I still need reassurance sometimes as I remain a newbie.

If you really are in NM, I can give you the name of a firm that is willing to sue "fellow" attorneys. They have been successful too. Whether or not they'll take your case, I do not know, but you can shoot me a PM if you are in NM.

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My attorney was more than happy to sue another law firm. They are also more likely to pay over the slimy JDB as they have a law license and other case work at stake beyond the FDCPA suit.

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What law did they violate? I thought it was perfectly legal for them to contact you at work. They would have to disclose the details of the account in the VM to be in violation

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They cannot contact you and leave a VM if it can be heard by third parties - called third party disclosure... it's a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(6) and 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(B)

d(6) - fail to provide meaningful disclosure of identity

c(B) - communication with third parties regarding collection of debt.

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What law did they violate? I thought it was perfectly legal for them to contact you at work. They would have to disclose the details of the account in the VM to be in violation

I agree they can contact ME at work if I have not done a cease and desist or if they know it is inconvenient..

However, as 1stStep comments, they have no right to leave messages on a company voice mail basically advertising the debt on the company horn for anyone to hear.

I'm imagining if that were legal, company voicemails would be chock full of debt collection calls for employees. Not only that, in my case, they have my contact number but CHOSE to do what they did. They can't argue they were trying to find me or that the number given wasn't working. It's working just fine but they haven't called it.

I just read a case where a plaintiff won FDCPA complaint when the CA left a voice message at the home - less alone the job. Zortman v. J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc.

I will find out (if my claim has any traction) next week for sure. I'll report back.

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Betcha they had no idea that the person they were leaving a message for was a member of this board. They are just trying to prey on the ignorant with tactics like this, knowing many have no idea what they are doing may very well be illegal and that the average person in your shoes will probably pay them just to get them to stop calling work.

It might be something to bring up in front of a judge, the fact that you specified that they call you at the number you provided, 6 times!!!

I filed a notice of appearence with my anwser and it demanded that all filings concerning the case be sent to my address. This is very imporatant when dealing with these JDB's who will sometimes try to send stuff to other addresses, usually all bent toward getting a default judgment.

Not sure if phone contact would be the same as address relative to what you requested in your written communication. It also would be up to the judge to decide whether he personally viewed it as unwarranted harassment. I would suppose that at very least the request could be made by the judge directly to the lawyers, that they should just contact you through your listed number.

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Betcha they had no idea that the person they were leaving a message for was a member of this board. They are just trying to prey on the ignorant with tactics like this, knowing many have no idea what they are doing may very well be illegal and that the average person in your shoes will probably pay them just to get them to stop calling work.

It might be something to bring up in front of a judge, the fact that you specified that they call you at the number you provided, 6 times!!!

I filed a notice of appearence with my anwser and it demanded that all filings concerning the case be sent to my address. This is very imporatant when dealing with these JDB's who will sometimes try to send stuff to other addresses, usually all bent toward getting a default judgment.

Not sure if phone contact would be the same as address relative to what you requested in your written communication. It also would be up to the judge to decide whether he personally viewed it as unwarranted harassment. I would suppose that at very least the request could be made by the judge directly to the lawyers, that they should just contact you through your listed number.

Not only that, but they see they have a defendant who responded. And with a pretty decent request for interrogatories and admissions and documents too. At least I thought my stuff was half decent.

Yet, they still gave me no credit at all for knowing anything when they made that call. I'm thinking it should have been a little obvious I wasn't the usual dumb bozo. If I were an attorney, I would not automatically call the bluff of anyone who responds with something that makes a little sense. There are too many others they can screw around with. But in this case, the JDB is an arse and the attorney has a REALLY bad rep. Guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Hope I'm not totally off base about the violation. BTW, I would not be filing a claim under the current case. It would be a new claim in Federal court against the attorney.

Thanks for the heads up on pointing out the point of contact when filing. If I have to do this again, will remember that. I did not "specify" or "call attention to" a contact number at all in my filings. I simply indicated the phone number in the required location as mandated by court rules. And the number was on my cover letters. Just as attorneys do. If I wanted to contact them, I would use the number they gave as a contact. I would not search around for a different number - unless the number shown on the filing was invalid. Otherwise, what's the point of including the phone number? I really shouldn't have to request they reach me at the number on the filing. Seems rather obvious, unless of course you're bottom-feeding scum.

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Well you called it they are just trying to get under your skin, they probably don't have what is needed to win now that you have anwsered their suit and now that their default is nixed the only hope they have is a foul up in your anwsers to their discovery, assuming that is forthcoming or has already came in a delivery to your mailbox.

As for reviewing your case and proceeding from their based upon your response, I just don't think the JDB's and their lawyers even put much thought into it. We are just a number and a file and I don't think any kind of strategic planning goes on case by case. Obviously if someone fouls up their anwser and/or discovery (i.e. somehow admits that the alleged debt is theirs,etc) then they no doubt go in for the kill like a shark after a wounded animal. If you counter their moves properly (anwser the suit and then send them off discovery and answer theirs) they pretty much just go through the motions I think, which are not really motions it just kind of dies a slow death in many cases, at least mine it did, some do eventually make it to court I suppose.

The "law firms" that these JDB's use to file and pursue their cases are usually just taking their orders from the JDB's and I don't think they put alot of thought into cases case-by-case. I can only tell you what I have experianced in my case, one that sat dormant for 6 months and then all of a sudden I get a dismissal in the mail a few days ago. This was after they said the proof I had requested was forthcoming. I don't know for sure how much attention a given case gets, our files might just sit in a cabinent for months on end without being laid eyes on.

What prompts them to just up and dismiss the thing after an extended period of time when it could have been done months before when, in my case as in yours, I had proven myself to not be the typical poor sap that has no idea what they are doing, I can't say. I also don't think they take lawsuits being filed against them very seriously either. They just seem to play the percentages in most everything they do.

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All good points fightemdontfold.

I did not realize the JDB is in the drivers seat. Learn something new every day.

In this case, the JDB has proof of debt that's pure crap. Stevie Wonder could see thru their nonsense records. Pages and pages of garbage.

If they are calling to try to settle, they didn't waste any time. It will be interesting to see if they call again on that number. I kinda hope they do. The more times they call and leave that message, the worse it should be.

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From my experiance, the "law firm" that will take the case on behalf of the JDB basically proceeds forward with whatever little they have supplied to them by the JDB. I called the "law firm" (most who represent the JDB's do little else other than that) that filed the suit against me on a couple of occasions during the period in which they took forever to respond back to my discovery requests and they semmed to do little except tell me they were "still waiting to hear back from the client" and of course they also brought up the matter of me paying on the account, that was politely rejected the first call, and sarcastically rejected on the 2nd call.

I am not sure how it is with all JDB's and the lawsuits they are behind, but with my suit at least the joke of a "law firm" just seemed as they were an arm of the scumbags. At no time during the preceedings during the course of things did they call me, good choice on their part as I would have had little to say that they would have wanted to hear..lol

On one occasion, when I was sitting in during court proceedings (at the time I foolishly thought the fools suing me would actually take it to a court trial,hey better to be prepared than not right) I observed a "rent-a-lawyer" for one of the JDB's (LVNV Funding) be made to look like a total fool. She was there with a MSJ against a guy who knew next to nothing about who he was up against (I talked with him afterwards). He actually admitted the debt was legit, but it was his ex-wife's. Anyway, I suppose the JDB or the lawyer or both thought that he would not show as upon being asked by the judge for evidence, the lawyer literally had nothing to respond with, she was just there to get the default. The judge denied the motion. The lawyers are nothing more than warm bodies on many occasions and the JDB is the driving force, this is my opinion.

Yeah if you plan to proceed forward on a suit against them, don't let them know you are planning on doing that, let them hang themselves with more calls. If you go forward with a federal lawsuit, make sure you know your stuff, those are not for novices, even if you have a case, you really have to know all the ins and outs of the law. And remember, even if you get a judgement against them, you still then have to collect that judgement.

You want to make sure you know all you need to know in order to defend yourself before you venture out trying to file suits against them.

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I'm not bothering with Federal at all. That's why I said earlier I'll be looking for an attorney.

Don't have the time to now learn the ins and outs of the Federal system. Although I have read quite a few pro se Federal FDCPA cases - with winners too. If I had more time, I feel I could do it.

There was the infamous story about the homeowner who sued Wells Fargo pro se and won. He later showed up at one of the branches with a sheriff to inventory their stuff.

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Good call, and good luck finding an attorney who will take your case without a big up front fee. Perhaps if the fine for the violation is big enough you might be able to avoid that initial charge. And again, the courts may hand down a judgement but they will do little to help in collecting and as much as you hear about these JDB's belittling people for "not paying their debts" these JDB's will try to avoid paying you. You might have to get another attorney or have your attorney get another attorney to assist in doing that.

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Anyone have any thoughts?

You are splitting hairs here. If you never told them (in writing) not to contact you at work then there is no FDCPA violation for that, although the robo-callers with all that "hang up if you are not so-and-so" is a load of crap. That tactic is still making its way through the court system last I heard so there is no firm case law prohibiting it that covers all jurisdictions. So far the collectors are losing those cases in every court that hears a case about it though. The winning arguments is that it is disclosing the nature of the call to third parties in violation of section 805b because they rely on people not listening to the message, which is totally unrealistic.

If it causes you problems at work you may have something in the way of actual damages.

Edited by Methuss

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You are splitting hairs here. If you never told them (in writing) not to contact you at work then there is no FDCPA violation for that, although the robo-callers with all that "hang up if you are not so-and-so" is a load of crap. That tactic is still making its way through the court system last I heard so there is no firm case law prohibiting it that covers all jurisdictions. So far the collectors are losing those cases in every court that hears a case about it though. The winning arguments is that it is disclosing the nature of the call to third parties in violation of section 805b because they rely on people not listening to the message, which is totally unrealistic.

If it causes you problems at work you may have something in the way of actual damages.

I agree. The "hang up now" is total crazy nonsense.

My beef with what they did is not about being called at work. It's the fact they left a message on a voicemail that was not identified as me. It was a business line and so the message was picked up by a third party. That's the violation.

I also believe what they did was generally in bad faith since they had a contact number for me in my response to the complaint, but chose instead to leave a message on the company voicemail.

Leaving a voicemail anywhere w/o knowing who will listen to it is like sending a collection notice on a postcard.

I've done a lot of research since I started this thread and from what I've read, my claim seems viable. I will comment back here once I get an answer from an attorney. Thanks for everybody's input. I love to hear all the other sides. That way, you'll be ready for everything!!!!!

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