W. Va. Woman Fights to Collect $10 Million from Debt Collectors
In a twist of irony, a West Virginia woman is trying to collect money from a collection agency. Diana Mey, of Wheeling, W. Va., won the largest judgment ever against an abusive debt collection company -- more than $10 million.
Two years ago, a debt collector with a company called Reliant Financial Associates, or RFA, left a message implying that her house was in jeopardy if she didn't pay a debt. The message stated:
"I'm calling in regards to a preliminary asset liability investigation. They are in the process of serving some court documents in regards to case 29369... They have some information now pending questions at the property,... Springdale Avenue, in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is in your best interests to contact the department. You are required to contact 866-764-9779."
It is illegal for debt collectors to make empty threats about serving people with a lawsuit or seizing their home. And it was especially galling to Mey, who says she is debt-free.
"They threatened to take legal action against our property and it wasn't even our debt," Mey said.
Millions of Americans are victims of this kind of mistaken debtor identity, partly because of a new breed of collectors called "debt buyers." ... Critics say debt buyers sometimes use outrageous tactics to get the money where others have failed. RFA is a debt buyer.
Last May, Mey sued RFA for harassment and illegal collection practices. In August, RFA's lawyer failed to show up in court, so Mey testified unopposed. The judge called RFA's actions "malicious" and ruled that all of the allegations were true. And then he awarded that record judgment of $10,860,000.
RFA's lawyer later told "Nightline" that RFA made the first collection call to Mey, but denies making the second, obscene call. He said he was speaking on behalf of company principals Thai Han, Jim Phelps and Stewart Phillips.
"My clients say it is not their policy to engage in conduct that violates the law," he said. He characterized the $10 million judgment as "unfair."
Well ya should have shown up for you day in court...
Q: What were the uber-rich doing sitting around the cesspool with their straws in the water?
A: Blowing air to the Wall Street sharks.... and libertarian skin divers.