Law Office of Allan E. Dunaway, PLC

Woman sues retailer for creditor harassment

Kentucky readers might be interested in a creditor harassment case recently filed against national department store chain Kohl's. The plaintiff in the case claims that the retail giant called her incessantly, including calls that occurred early in the morning and late at night, in pursuit of a $20 credit card debt. She says she chose not to pay the debt, which was apparently legitimately incurred in November 2013, because of frustration with the way she was treated by Kohl's customer service department. She believes the company broke the law in its attempts to collect the debt.

According to attorneys representing the plaintiff, Kohl's actions were in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits calls to cellular phones using prerecorded voice or an auto dialer without the consent of the call's recipient. The woman may be entitled to money damages for each call made in violation of the TCPA. Her credit score may be negatively impacted, though, by her failure to pay the debt.

If the phone calls came from a third-party collector employed by Kohl's, the plaintiff may have claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well. The FDCPA restricts the means by which third parties can attempt to collect debts by, for example, prohibiting phone calls prior to 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Third-party collection calls that occur during prohibited times may constitute creditor harassment.

In a case like this one, the lawyer for the plaintiff may be able to subpoena or otherwise acquire telephone records and other documentary evidence during discovery. Evidence of the dates, times and origins of the phone calls may help to establish violations of the TCPA or the FDCPA.

Source: Low Cards, "Woman Sues Kohl’s Over Harassment for $20 Credit Card Bill", Lynn Oldshue, June 26, 2014

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