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Collection Victim Sues Collector Under the FDCPA

Debt collector, John Anderson, has turned into a debtor himself after he was sued for engaging in harassing, aggressive, and illegal debt collection acts. Jessica Burke, the woman who filed suit, was relentlessly pursued by him and the debt collection agency where he was employed. Having never appeared in court, a default judgment was entered against Anderson on June 29, 2009 in federal court. Now, she has won a $33,000 judgment against him for which he is unable to pay.

Known as a top debt collection agent, he would call and harass Burke multiple times a day over $350 that she allegedly owed in back money for a used vehicle she had purchased. He admitted that he may have called after 9:00 pm and that he was a bit pushy, but he maintained that he was generally operating within the legal boundaries when carrying out his duties for work. Contrary to his position, the Court found that he went beyond just being pushy. In fact, the Court deemed that his behavior and conduct was inappropriate and unlawful. Anderson was found to be insulting and offensive towards Burke. He tried to intimidate her into paying, by calling her a "porky pig". He also called her boss and discussed her personal financial situation in an attempt to force her to pay. Additionally, he threatened Burke with false information and threatened to track her down as a background investigator.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has set guidelines regarding phone calls at work and harassing behavior while trying to collect a debt. Even when Burke said she had turned over the car to the finance company and repaid her debt, the collector would not stop tormenting her despite her pleas. She said that the terrifying experience drove her to tears on countless occasions.

Despite the victory in court, Anderson is not willing to pay Burke for his actions, stating "she's not collected a dime, she never will, because I don't have it to pay her." In light of the heinous attitude and conduct exhibited by Anderson, Burke remains positive and hopeful, because she has made the decision to move on. She said she can't be bothered to chase him for the money that she may never get. She is just happy that she got her day in court and won.

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Resources

ABC News – Debt Collector Owes Over $33K for Making Woman's Life "Hell"