This blog has previously reported on the lengths that creditors and debt collectors will go to collect money they are owed. This story out of another state, will leave a bad taste in most of our Miami readers’ mouths. A man who bravely served his country and suffered debilitating injuries has been subjected to endless harassment by a debt-collection company, but now he and his wife are fighting back.
The man, who is classified as 100 percent disabled because of spine and head injuries, has sued debt-collection agency Gurstel Chargo, which has offices in three states (none of which are Florida). His lawsuit accuses the company of illegally garnishing his disability benefits and then engaging in creditor harassment.
Federal law prohibits disability benefits from being garnished, but the company had the man’s wife’s credit union freeze her account. The agency then took $6,000 that was supposedly owed for a student loan. The company later admitted in court that they shouldn’t have taken those funds.
However, the man and his wife would have to file a lawsuit to get the money back, and in a phone conversation with a Gurstel Chargo employee, the man said that he was told that he “should have died” from his injuries. “If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off Social Security,” the man says he was told.
The company says now that they will discipline whoever said those things, but that is little comfort to the man and his wife, who need their money back. But filing a lawsuit sends a strong message to debt collectors that you will not be intimidated.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Michael Collier, Disabled Vet, Claims Debt Collection Agency Insulted Him, Told Him He ‘Should Have Died’,” Ryan Grenoble, Oct. 17, 2012