Lawsuit charges department store with creditor harassment

Minnesota residents who experience harassment at the hands of creditors may have grounds to file a legal claim under federal law. In a Michigan case, a woman is charging Kohl's department store with creditor harassment under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and, possibly, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. While waiting for the case to continue, the woman has chosen to not pay the seemingly legitimate debt in question.

The woman claims to have received numerous phone calls, which allegedly took place during the early morning and late night hours, from either collectors for Kohl's or a third-party collector. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act establishes specific times during which such phone calls may not be placed without prior approval by the consumer. The primary claim in this case, however, appears to deal with illegal use of prerecorded voice and automatic dialing to the woman's cellphone.

The original credit card debt from Kohl's was for the amount of $20 in November 2013. This has since increased to $100 through the application of various fees and interest. The stated reason for the woman's nonpayment is her protest of the tactics used by Kohl's customer service department, which her lawyers assert were illegal.

According to one author, refusal to pay a debt may result in a damaged credit score regardless of the legal claim. Paying or not paying a debt during a legal claim regarding that debt is a decision best made after consultation with an attorney experienced in handling creditor harassment cases. Minnesota residents who are facing the burden of overwhelming debt are still protected by law from creditor harassment and unfair practices. If creditors are making an already stressful situation worse with their aggressive tactics, an attorney may be able to help pursue legal claims and offer options to help consumers reestablish credit.

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

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