Debt Collector to Customer: ‘Dear Sh*t’

By Joseph Rhee

Nov 12, 2007 10:52am

"Dear Sh*t" read the letter a New York man received from a debt collection company trying to collect a $16.39 debt. The letter from Nationwide Collections was addressed to "Sh*t Face" and threatened to take the customer to court over the debt, owed to Columbia House, a music subscription company. According to consumer attorney Kenneth Hiller, "These kinds of abusive practices by debt collectors are common." THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Blotter Debt Collectors Gone Wild Blotter Debt Collectors Take Advantage of Intimidated Consumers Debt Collector Do’s and Don’ts Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. As reported previously by ABC News, the debt collection industry has been under fire for heavy-handed tactics, mostly for harassing phone calls. Hiller, who has been retained by the Nationwide customer, said this is the first time he has seen a company use profanity in a collection letter.  "It shows a debt collector who’s either very malicious or does not have adequate safeguards," he said. Hiller said the customer has signed a sworn statement saying he did not use the offensive term in any of his correspondence with Columbia House. The president of Nationwide Collections, Phil McGarvey, told the Blotter on ABCNews.com that the account in question contained the offensive name when Nationwide purchased it from another company. McGarvey said the profanity wasn’t caught by his employees because collection letters are sent through an automated system.    McGarvey said the threat of a lawsuit contained in the letter was also an oversight and that his company typically doesn’t sue customers over such low amounts of money. McGarvey said the company plans to apologize to the customer.  "We regret the offense caused, but it was unwitting," he said. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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