Terrorism by Telephone
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16
  1. #1
    Registered User Daisygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Welland, Ontario, Canada
    Age
    45
    Posts
    2,506
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Blog Entries
    1
    Rep Power
    18

    Default Terrorism by Telephone

    If any of you have ever been in debt - I mean, really really behind, you will understand why I still cringe every time the telephone rings.

    The tactics that are considered legal by bill collectors in Canada are nothing short of terroristic harassment.

    Before I "disappeared" I got no less than 30 calls a day from creditors. I got 2-3 calls a day from friends or kids or the school. That means that whenever the phone rang chances were good that it was someone wanting money. I began to have a Pavlovian jaw clench every time I heard the phone ring.

    Initially, I tried answering the calls. However, I soon discovered if you can't make arrangements to pay, there is no point to talking to the person on the other end of the line. I attempted to be polite - after all - I owe this money and these people are just doing a job.

    But courtesy got me absolutely nowhere. Abrasively, they would reply to me that I was "stealing" by not paying the bill immediately, they would ask if I had ever had an intention of paying they bill, they would begin to ask personal questions about what other bills I had and whether or not I was behind on those bills too.

    So I proceeded to screen my calls.

    This led to the messages. Sometimes I would come home to over 20 messages on my answering machine. I can't really describe the stress felt when one message after another was a person representing a collection agency calling to "discuss a personal financial matter." I couldn't delete them fast enough to keep the anxiety at bay.

    Then came the very vivid day when collector actually SHOWED UP AT MY DOOR. I felt invaded, paralyzed, nearly raped by his appearance. I sent my daughter into the house, told the man never to come there again and when he wouldn't stop questioning me, picked up the phone to call the police, which finally made him leave. I was shaking for days after that and every knock at the door made me want to hide under the table until the person went away.

    That's when I decided to vanish.

    I began to plan the best way to disappear. I figured that every place that had my address and phone number was one more way for bill collectors and creditors to track me down. I searched only for apartments that were not in buildings run by corporations that would run credit checks and keep records of their tenants. I looked only at places that had all utilities paid - including cable and internet. I finally found the perfect spot, an adorable but tiny apartment in an owner-occupied duplex with everything paid for.

    My phone was not set up under my name and is unlisted.
    My settings on Facebook are the most private settings available.
    I don't give anyone my home phone number.
    My workplace does not have my home address.

    The only place that has my actual address and telephone number is the Ministry of Transportation and Revenue Canada, and that is only because I could find no legal way to get around it. The government really loves to know where you are.

    This experience has been life-altering. I used to trustingly give out personal information at the fair, hoping to win some prize or another. I used to keep track of all sorts of bonus points and programs from Shopper's Drug Mart and Zellers. I used to have numerous magazine subscriptions. I had my city and workplace listed on Facebook for all to see. I'll never be that open again.

    It is tough - I feel guilty, like a criminal hiding from the law. I know that I owe that money. I wish that I could pay it. However, I have the right not to be constantly harassed and hunted.

    The way the collection agencies work - well, it's nothing more than legalized stalking. Did you know that collection agencies can look at your credit information at will, and if you have filled out a credit application somewhere, your personal information is updated on that site? There are so many places that you can be found.

    If anyone is reading this who has not been in extreme debt and been at the mercy of an army of collection agents, you will probably think I'm crazy. You might look at this situation and feel like I'm over-reacting or that I'm some kind of spineless idiot, or perhaps a conspiracy theorist.

    But to paraphrase the old saying, are you paranoid if everyone really is looking for you?

  2. #2
    Registered User Missy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    15,626
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    33

    Default

    Been there, still am to some extent. However There are recourses in the US. Hopefully there are some in your area too. It sounds silly as all get out, but I called on of the TV lawyers that advertise that they can help you if you are being harassed by bill collectors. I found one that was amazing. And she cost me...nothing. The law firm fights for you and rolls their cost into what they "go after" the collectors for when they are being abusive and harassing here. I don't know the laws there, but here it's illegal for the collectionhs companies to harass like that. Keep track of everything you can. I hope you find peace, can get back on your feet, and when you are able to pay, I hope the collection companies are willing to be civil.
    ~~ Missy ~~

    Planting and raising an urban homestead in the middle of Downtown big city right at the foot of the Rocky Mountains!

    Zone 5 Colorado Springs, CO USA

  3. #3
    Registered User Droppedonmyhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
    Age
    58
    Posts
    962
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    9

    Default

    Oh my. . .bless your heart. That is just unbelievable!!! I don't blame you one bit for the actions you've taken. You were pretty much boxed into a corner where it was your only recourse. I'm sure you felt on the verge of having a nervous breakdown because of it. And then to have them come to your house and not leave??? Scary!! It is a form of terrorism and I'm surprised that Canada allows it.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,408
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    23

    Default

    I first want to say; I'm sorry this was happening to you. My dh has a seasonal job and when you don't have money; you don't have money.
    I have never been in extreme debt and I do BELIEVE you.!!!! I had BOA (niko will love this one) calling me for 3 months and leaving messages that we owed money. I have NEVER owed them money and I was being harassed because we have a common last name and it was just looked up. AND while the credit reporting agencies make or break you with credit scores; they are busy giving or selling your name and address to any creditor who wants it!!!

  5. #5
    Registered User MsMarieH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    midwest
    Age
    48
    Posts
    391
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    6

    Default

    That is truly horrendous. As said above, here in the US there are some protections against that kind of behavior, but unfortunately, many victims are not aware of their rights.

    I did a quick google and it looks like there are some similar laws of protection in Canada. I wonder if you would have been able to pursue these prior to your "vanishing". Here in the US, violations can result in some pretty nasty monetary settlements from the debt collectors.

    Canadian debt collection rules. Debt collection in Canada.

    Debt Collection Laws

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Age
    34
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Daisygirl View Post
    If any of you have ever been in debt - I mean, really really behind, you will understand why I still cringe every time the telephone rings.

    The tactics that are considered legal by bill collectors in Canada are nothing short of terroristic harassment.

    Before I "disappeared" I got no less than 30 calls a day from creditors. I got 2-3 calls a day from friends or kids or the school. That means that whenever the phone rang chances were good that it was someone wanting money. I began to have a Pavlovian jaw clench every time I heard the phone ring.

    Initially, I tried answering the calls. However, I soon discovered if you can't make arrangements to pay, there is no point to talking to the person on the other end of the line. I attempted to be polite - after all - I owe this money and these people are just doing a job.

    But courtesy got me absolutely nowhere. Abrasively, they would reply to me that I was "stealing" by not paying the bill immediately, they would ask if I had ever had an intention of paying they bill, they would begin to ask personal questions about what other bills I had and whether or not I was behind on those bills too.

    So I proceeded to screen my calls.

    This led to the messages. Sometimes I would come home to over 20 messages on my answering machine. I can't really describe the stress felt when one message after another was a person representing a collection agency calling to "discuss a personal financial matter." I couldn't delete them fast enough to keep the anxiety at bay.

    Then came the very vivid day when collector actually SHOWED UP AT MY DOOR. I felt invaded, paralyzed, nearly raped by his appearance. I sent my daughter into the house, told the man never to come there again and when he wouldn't stop questioning me, picked up the phone to call the police, which finally made him leave. I was shaking for days after that and every knock at the door made me want to hide under the table until the person went away.

    That's when I decided to vanish.

    I began to plan the best way to disappear. I figured that every place that had my address and phone number was one more way for bill collectors and creditors to track me down. I searched only for apartments that were not in buildings run by corporations that would run credit checks and keep records of their tenants. I looked only at places that had all utilities paid - including cable and internet. I finally found the perfect spot, an adorable but tiny apartment in an owner-occupied duplex with everything paid for.

    My phone was not set up under my name and is unlisted.
    My settings on Facebook are the most private settings available.
    I don't give anyone my home phone number.
    My workplace does not have my home address.

    The only place that has my actual address and telephone number is the Ministry of Transportation and Revenue Canada, and that is only because I could find no legal way to get around it. The government really loves to know where you are.

    This experience has been life-altering. I used to trustingly give out personal information at the fair, hoping to win some prize or another. I used to keep track of all sorts of bonus points and programs from Shopper's Drug Mart and Zellers. I used to have numerous magazine subscriptions. I had my city and workplace listed on Facebook for all to see. I'll never be that open again.

    It is tough - I feel guilty, like a criminal hiding from the law. I know that I owe that money. I wish that I could pay it. However, I have the right not to be constantly harassed and hunted.

    The way the collection agencies work - well, it's nothing more than legalized stalking. Did you know that collection agencies can look at your credit information at will, and if you have filled out a credit application somewhere, your personal information is updated on that site? There are so many places that you can be found.

    If anyone is reading this who has not been in extreme debt and been at the mercy of an army of collection agents, you will probably think I'm crazy. You might look at this situation and feel like I'm over-reacting or that I'm some kind of spineless idiot, or perhaps a conspiracy theorist.

    But to paraphrase the old saying, are you paranoid if everyone really is looking for you?
    You're not crazy, you are a criminal.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Age
    34
    Posts
    2
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    0

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Droppedonmyhead View Post
    Oh my. . .bless your heart. That is just unbelievable!!! I don't blame you one bit for the actions you've taken. You were pretty much boxed into a corner where it was your only recourse. I'm sure you felt on the verge of having a nervous breakdown because of it. And then to have them come to your house and not leave??? Scary!! It is a form of terrorism and I'm surprised that Canada allows it.
    What kind of crack have you been smoking? Running away from your debt is exactly the same as theft. She's a criminal.

  8. #8
    Registered User seattleLMP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Age
    35
    Posts
    199
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    3

    Default

    I know how you feel. I used to move 2-3x a year so I could stay one step ahead of them. Eventually I had to file for bankruptcy. It's pretty screwed up that you become a "criminal" in this country if you have no way to pay your medical bills. I had no choice about my hospitalizations, because I was in the psych ward. If I had left I'd have been arrested.

  9. #9
    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6,885
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    38

    Default

    Oh gee, I was thinking Daisygirl was back when this thread popped up. Nope someone bringing up a thread that is almost 3 years old to make negative comments. Seattle I didnt mean yours. I dont think unless one knows all the details of a persons, life, situation and how things came about that one is in a position to judge. Shucks I thought Daisygirl was back

  10. #10
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    not here
    Posts
    4,378
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nodmicks View Post
    Nope someone bringing up a thread that is almost 3 years old to make negative comments. Seattle I didnt mean yours. I dont think unless one knows all the details of a persons, life, situation and how things came about that one is in a position to judge.
    You are absolutely right.
    I saved 100% by buying nothing. Best sale of the year.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    not here
    Posts
    4,378
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gordonsa View Post
    What kind of crack have you been smoking? Running away from your debt is exactly the same as theft. She's a criminal.
    No need for this. You don't like how she handled her debt well over 2 years ago? And now you're ripping on people? Get a life.
    I saved 100% by buying nothing. Best sale of the year.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    not here
    Posts
    4,378
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    51

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by seattleLMP View Post
    I know how you feel. I used to move 2-3x a year so I could stay one step ahead of them. Eventually I had to file for bankruptcy. It's pretty screwed up that you become a "criminal" in this country if you have no way to pay your medical bills. I had no choice about my hospitalizations, because I was in the psych ward. If I had left I'd have been arrested.
    arrested for what? debt?
    I saved 100% by buying nothing. Best sale of the year.

  13. #13
    Registered User seattleLMP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Age
    35
    Posts
    199
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    3

    Default

    No, if you are admitted to the psych hospital it is because you are considered a danger to yourself or others. You are not allowed to leave until you are discharged. They lock the doors and if you were to escape somehow you would be arrested.

    Sorry, I did not realize this was an old thread though! Didn't mean to keep it going.

  14. #14
    Registered User NikoSan999's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    7,612
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Blog Entries
    1
    Rep Power
    47

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nodmicks View Post
    Oh gee, I was thinking Daisygirl was back when this thread popped up. Nope someone bringing up a thread that is almost 3 years old to make negative comments. Seattle I didnt mean yours. I dont think unless one knows all the details of a persons, life, situation and how things came about that one is in a position to judge. Shucks I thought Daisygirl was back
    Shoot...I thought so too. I've thought about her several times. I miss her. I hope her and the kids are ok.
    Bank of America is THE godfather of Hell with Wells Fargo running neck and neck. When the world ends the only things that will be left are cockroaches, Walmart, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Not necessarily in that order. The order remains to be seen.

    Challenges
    Coupon Sales Challenge/August
    $

    Coupons for Year / $745.54

    August/ Grocery
    /Goal $175.00 Total

    Groceries for Year minus Jan & Feb
    $504.98

    Eat Out No More Sept
    Goal 20
    Accomp/24


    No Spend Challenge
    Goal 10
    Accomp/14

    Change Jar 2014
    $

    Christmas Fund 2014
    $

    Emergency/Sinking
    $100

  15. #15
    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6,885
    Post Thanks / WTG / Hug
    Rep Power
    38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NikoSan999 View Post
    Shoot...I thought so too. I've thought about her several times. I miss her. I hope her and the kids are ok.
    I do also. I really enjoyed her posts.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. I have no telephone
    By Jaded in forum Utilities
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 10-22-2007, 04:15 PM
  2. I took the telephone plunge.....
    By bumplett in forum Utilities
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 11-02-2006, 01:48 PM
  3. How to Clean a Telephone
    By sunshine in forum Home Environment
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-05-2006, 12:37 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •