Action 9: Man considers lawsuit after harassing debt collector calls

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Name calling, threats, hundreds of texts in a single day -- Joseph MacDonald said a debt collector did all of those things to get him to pay. He said she was on the warpath.
 
He loved his car, a silver Nissan Maxima.
 
However, when he couldn't make the payments, he said a woman named Kay started hounding him to get the money.
 
"She was just coming at me just crazy," he said.
 
Now he's thinking of suing. He talked to a lawyer who drafted papers, but hasn't filed them yet.  According to the draft, Kay kept harassing MacDonald, sent him "over 200 texts in one day," and called him an "idiot," a "druggie," a "junkie," "trash," and "worthless."
 
MacDonald says Kay badmouthed him to his father, stepmother, former wife, and girlfriend's grandmother.  He says Kay even brought race into it, saying his girlfriend, who is African-American, was "reprehensible" for "living" with a "boyfriend of a different race."  
 
Under state and federal law, debt collectors can threaten to sue you, or report you to credit bureaus.  But they can't:

  • Threaten jail time;
  • Contact you at odd hours;
  • Bombard you with calls or texts;
  • Use harassing or vulgar language;
  • Or insult you to your friends, family, or boss.

CLICK HERE:  Rules from North Carolina on debt collection

CLICK HERE:  Consumer information from the Federal Trade Commission

N.C.Attorney General Roy Cooper says his office fields more than 1,800 complaints against debt collectors each year. 

The office can take action against debt collectors who violate the law, he said.
 
MacDonald says he owed money to a company, Carolina Finance.  He assumed Kay worked with that company. 

Action 9 contacted Carolina Finance.

The company returned all of Action 9's calls promptly and said, "(There's) no employee named ‘Kay’ and no employee utilizes an alias when performing his or her job duties. That said ... does on occasion engage the services of outside companies to locate vehicles when customers, fail to maintain communication and their whereabouts become unknown or to collect balances due under certain contracts." 
 
It also said it takes the law "very seriously" and is looking into the situation.