Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Massachusetts

I have a collection agency calling my office everyday telling me to garnish any pay from an employee & send it to them. I keep telling them that the person was a contractor & hasn't worked here in years & please stop calling my office. Well, they still keep calling & now they are threatening me,telling me that it's my last chance to comply or they'll serve me with legal papers. This can't be legal. What should I do? How can I get them to stop? can I sue them if they don't stop harassing me & my business??

Asked on 5/03/13, 4:20 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Thomas Beauvais Thomas Beauvais, Attorney at Law
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You should contact a consumer protection attorney. A debt collector cannot threaten to take legal action they are not entitled to. In this case, it doesn't sound like they even have a judgment against the contractor for the debt. They cannot legally garnish wages without a judgment. Furthermore, they cannot garnish wages that are no longer due and owing.

Debt collectors also cannot communicate with third parties and reveal that someone owes a debt. They also cannot continue to contact someone after they have been told to stop.

Also, if they're using an automated dialing system or the calls are going to your cell phone, they may have violated the TCPA.

You may want to send them a written letter stating they must cease and desist from all communication with you. And contact an attorney about your possible rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Practices Act.

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5/03/13, 4:55 pm
Raymond Weicker Qua, Hall, Harvey & Walsh
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Bottom line: you are being scammed. Garnishment requires a court order and a judgment against the debtor... Not your business.

This is a common scam directed against small businesses.

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5/03/13, 7:52 pm
John Skinner, III CLASS, Consumer Law Advocacy and Skinner Rivard Law Offices
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Both of the above answers are correct. Although this is most likely a scam, if it IS a legitimate company, they are breaking the law and you would be entitled to statutory damages and attorneys fees. While this is also a tactic of crooks, sadly, some legitimate debt collection companies will request, and receive, a "voluntary" wage garnishment directly from a debtor's employer- it is generally illegal but it happens.

If you can get a name and address from these people, or better yet, something in writing from them, please contact my office for no cost assistance. If they can't give you a verifiable name and address, and/or refuse to send you something in writing, then they are con-artist criminals and should be reported to the authorities.

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5/04/13, 7:35 am

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