Nothing good can come from a threatening letter demanding you pay thousands of dollars or face prosecution — unless you have a sense of humor.
Debt collectors sent Laurence Quilty a letter demanding he pay €4,806.54, otherwise he’d face legal action and be forced to sell his house. That’s a bit of an empty threat, considering Laurence Quilty died in 2008. His daughter Clare-Louise received the letter and decided to respond to the collector’s ignorance with a letter of her own, according to The Mirror (U.K.). Here’s a portion of what she wrote:
“Unfortunately my father is no longer contactable at the address in Redcastle, Co. Donegal, as he has actually been residing in Dunboyne Cemetery since January 2008.
Attached is a photo of me visiting him at his most recent residence just last week.
I don’t think he’ll be moving elsewhere in the foreseeable future so please feel free to forward any further correspondence there, although I’m not too sure of the quality of his penmanship these days so please be patient when awaiting your response.”
She included a photo of herself in front of her father’s gravestone.
People tend to have negative impressions of debt collectors, and threatening to collect from dead people certainly doesn’t help that image. This happened in Ireland, but Americans should know they have a lot of rights to protect them from unpleasant collection tactics, and collectors are supposed to abide by the rules that regulate their work. For example, a collector can’t threaten to sue you, unless they actually intend to file a lawsuit. Here are some of the most important debt collection rights you should know about. You can check your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com to see if there are any collection accounts in your name. (You can also see how a collection account is affecting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)
If you feel that a debt collector is violating your rights and harassing you in pursuit of money, report the abuse to your state attorney general’s office, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and/or the Federal Trade Commission. (Definitely don’t follow in the footsteps of this man, who was recently sent to prison after threatening his student loan servicer over his bills.) And if you’re feeling up to it, you can always follow in Clare-Louise Quilty’s footsteps and add a factor of entertainment to what is generally a consumer nightmare.
More on Managing Debt:
- The Credit.com Debt Management Learning Center
- Understanding Your Debt Collection Rights
- Top 10 Debt Collection Rights