Daily Journal

Conniving Collections Agencies

The Aim Is To Intimidate, Frighten And Cajole

I don’t begrudge anyone a chance to make a living, and for the most part, don’t judge what line of work they choose. Using less-than-honest tactics to achieve an objective is not ideal, but it has worked, so it’s use continues.

My brother calls me-

Mike (my brother):

Dave, we got a call from someone saying they’re looking for Lisa (my ex-wife) to serve a summons


Mike, people who serve summons don’t call first (unless it’s a prearranged “friendly serve“).


It sounds pretty serious.


Mike, it’s a collections agency.


Collections agencies routinely use fear and intimidation to try to collect and they bank on your ignorance.

I call the number Mike gave me and a deep, male voice answers:


Corporate Office


Hey, somebody from this number called my sister-in-law about some kind of issue.


What’s your name?


David Kelsen, they called for Lisa Kelsen.


Nobody from this number called.


This was the number they gave her, so somebody called. I didn’t make it up.


What’s it about?


They said there was a summons.


Oh right, there’s a process server in San Clemente trying to find Lisa. There’s a civil case against her and we need to serve papers before we go to court.


Can you tell me what it’s about?


Who’s Lisa to you?


My ex-wife


We can’t share that information, if you were still married I could tell you but…


You said civil case right? Well that’s public information, you can share that with me or give me the case number.


We don’t have a case number yet, the summons is for verification.

Me (getting heated):

You don’t get a summons without filing first and getting a case number, look, you’re talking to the wrong guy about this…this is some kind of collections issue, what’s the issue here? You guys are calling and pestering my family with phone calls about a non-existent summons..

Voice (interrupting):

Hey, don’t yell at me about how I do business, what do you want?


I want you to stop calling my family.


Then ask me to remove their numbers from the call list.


This company tries to frighten friends and/or relatives by threatening that there is a summons and they infer that the person could get arrested unless they comply.

Total BS.

Red Flags

1. When I call the toll-free number, the voice answers “Corporate Office”.

It’s totally anonymous, no company id.

2. “There’s a process server looking for…”

Unless it’s a prearranged “friendly serve”, which typically means the attorneys in the case arrange for the serve, a process server will never call to alert the subject. Threatening to serve a summons is a scare tactic.

3. “summons for verification”

No such thing. Summons are not issued without a case being filed. period.

 Bottom Line

There are two major points to keep in mind when dealing with collections agencies.

  1. You can’t trust anything they say
  2. They are heavily regulated

If you tell them to stop calling, they are legally obligated to do so. If they don’t, they risk legal retribution or they are not legit. In either case, if they don’t leave you alone, contact the police.

 Look, we all have times in our lives when things don’t work out they way we planned or would have liked. Ultimately, you are responsible and accountable for your financial obligations. Sometimes things go to collections, it sucks, but it happens.

It doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to their lies and intimidation.

The best thing I can leave you with is to be informed. Do the research.

The cliche is true:  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER





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