News 4 Investigates: Daily Briefing

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Foul Mouth Debt Collectors

by Chris Nagus and John O'Sullivan

Posted on October 31, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 31 at 9:23 PM

A local man says his experience with a debt collector crossed the line and it looks like he's not the only one dealing with this questionable company.

Larry West says it all started with a $ 400 payday loan to keep his electricity turned on.
He admits he got behind with the payments and now he's getting angry calls.

West recorded one message and sent us a transcript: "you mother f******, ****sucker, ***hole, you mother f******, American scum, now I’m going to harass your b***** *** wife. you mother f******, ****sucker."
West says he's not taking their calls anymore, "I told him if he wanted to talk like that our discussion was over".
The phone number from the calls comes from the 707 area code, just outside San Francisco.
News 4's Chris Nagus called and a guy who sounded almost exactly like Mr. Pottymouth answered.
He told News 4 he worked for McKinneys law firm in California.  News 4 couldn't find any record to support the company even exists.  The man on the other end of the phone told us the responsible employee would be fired, and then hung up.
When we called back, Chris Nagus talked to guy named Mr. Benjamin.  He told Nagus they were running a scam, and that he would do a phone interview.  But every time we called back, we got the same voicemail.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act makes it illegal to leave messages like the one left for West.
The Federal Trade Commission clearly prohibits the use of obscene language.  But even after News 4 called them out, they kept leaving angry messages for West.  News 4 plans to forward this story to the Federal Trade Commission.
The last time Chris Nagus dealt with a foul mouth debt collection agency the FTC took action.
Rumson Bolling and Associates was calling consumers in St. Louis, and in one case allegedly threatened to dig up a dead woman's daughter if she didn't pay the funeral home bill.
News 4 recently learned the FTC filed a temporary restraining order against Rumson Bolling, preventing them from making debt collection calls.