Last fall, I took a rhetorical shot at “all these third-party debt weasels who buy written-off accounts at pennies on the dollar and then robocall everyone in the Western Hemisphere in an effort to find someone stupid enough to pay them.”
The message goes something like “This call is for Jane Jones. If this is not Jane Jones, please hang up now. This involves debt collection and if you are not Jane Jones and you do not hang up, you are guilty of violating federal confidentiality laws.”
Of course, my answering machine doesn’t hang up. So, it’s a felon. I guess I am, too, since I have listened to the message all the way through. Oddly, there’s nothing after the stern warning that tells me anything that I didn’t already know from before the warning except for the name of the debt collection agency and the 1-800 number to call in order to pay up. But you know, that would actually be a helpful thing to tell me before the warning, if only so that I can call them back and let them know that Jane Jones can no longer be reached at this number. If I call back, though, they will know that I listened longer than I should have (and that my answering machine and I are both felons).
Jane Jones, of course, was not available for comment.
The catch here, as you may have already discerned, is that if you don’t pick up, they’re not going to assume that Jane Jones isn’t here; they’re going to keep the little autodialer running just as long as they can until someone is insane enough to say “I will pay.” It is, I believe, in our best interest to let these people continue to run up enormous toll charges, thereby reducing their return on their dubious “investment.”
I figure that if I actually owe someone money, they can by God send me a proper bill. If they can’t, screw ‘em.