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A recent lawsuit filed by the estate of a woman says that debt collectors continually harassed the executrix of the woman’s estate for money that had already been paid. The case highlights how many times debt collectors operate based on incorrect or out of date information and how that lack of correct information can harm consumers.
Patricia Johnson filed the lawsuit in West Virginia in her capacity as Executrix of the Estate of Kathleen Jackson. The claim states that West Virginia Radiation Therapy Services Inc. and its debt collection agency, Phillips & Cohen Associates, violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act as well as the West Virginia Computer Crime and Abuse Act due to their harassing attempts to collect money that had already been paid.
Johnson says that on July 16th of this year she received notice from West Virginia Radiation Therapy Services and Phillips & Cohen that the Estate of Kathleen Jackson owed $1,438.67 for radiation services provided. Johnson says that upon receiving notice of the debt she immediately made payment for the full amount on July 20th, only four days later.
Despite this prompt and complete payment, Johnsons says that Phillips & Cohen were unrelenting in fighting for still more money. Phillips & Cohen continued attempting to collect the now fully paid debt on behalf of the radiation center, sending Johnson 16 copies of the same letter throughout the month of August and then another 16 letters in September, each time demanding payment of the $1,400 bill.
Johnson’s claim says that she is owed compensation from Phillips & Cohen due to their intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. Under West Virginia law, the debt collector’s actions entitle Johnson to damages for annoyance, aggravation, distress and anxiety caused by their unethical and illegal practices.
The hope is that cases like this one send a strong message to debt collectors across the country that their illegal and abusive tactics will not be tolerated. Though the case comes from West Virginia, similar laws are on the books in most states, including here in North Carolina. Additionally, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act also exists to define the rights and obligations of debtors and debt collectors. Any violation of the law can be met with a lawsuit, meaning that consumers should not feel powerless to stop the abuse by overly aggressive debt collection agencies.
If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828. As professionals who are experienced in the bankruptcy arena, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.
“Woman’s estate files suit against collection agency,” by Joel Brakken, published at WVRecord.com.
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