Death won't stop these debt collectors

  • Article by: CHRIS SERRES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 17, 2011 - 4:38 PM

Hounded series: A new breed of collector is targeting the still-grieving family members of people who have died without paying their bills.

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StrohkirchSep. 19, 10 8:25 AM

for a collection agency now known as DCM in Golden Valley back in 2002-03. There were days when I brought in a couple of thousand dollars from the family of a debtor. What I learned about debt and death is this, don't co-sign with anyone in your family to finance anything. By keeping them out of your finances, you save them the embarrassment of being collected upon. If someone in your family dies with debt, you tell the debt collector the probate information if there is an estate and if there is no estate, you tell them that. They are unable to call on you if there is no estate to claim on. They can ask you to consider paying, but if you say no, they are legally obligated to stop calling you about it.

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shaggslocoSep. 19, 1010:58 AM

used to work for DCM Services. There is alot of confusing misinformation about exactly what happens to debt when someone passes away. The best thing a person can do is to ask an attorney who specializes in probate affairs about what assets of the estate are probatable and which ones aren't. That being said, the last year and a half I worked for them we were trained to make it clear that family members of a decedant were not personally responsible for repayment of the debts. More often than not we would end up dealing with personal reps of the estate or attorneys. Did some people bend rules to try and guilt family members into paying. I can almost guarantee it, but if there were infractions of the FDCPA they were dealt with swiftly and often with termination.

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rayk1800Sep. 19, 1012:48 PM

My dad passed away owing some money on credit cards and his estate was basically broke. Creditors were notified and probate was filed. About a year or so afterwards, someone called and said they knew the estate was unable to pay the debt, but wouldn't I feel better if I paid the debt for my dad. Ya right. After dealing the creditors in probate, I had no sympathy for the creditors. I got calls for years and would refer to the estate attorney and probate resolution while mentioning that I would not pay any attorney fees regarding their inquiry. They would need to due the dirty work if they wanted information. I would say, don't let the agencies get under your skin, it's not worth it.

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jms8038Sep. 19, 10 1:38 PM

I know jobs are hard to come by these days but to blantently and shamelessly prey on people who are mouring the loss of a love one, well, all I can say is: Karma is gonna get ya. Good for Todd Murray for not staying.

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FrankLSep. 20, 10 1:14 PM

I'm sure all of them will just say its a job and someone has to do it. Of course Nazi prison guards said the same thing.

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nomedsSep. 22, 10 7:32 AM

cannot touch the homestead exemption which includes your house any most personal belongings amounting to $300,000. Also, if you recive social security, it is totally exempt from any kind of debt collection. Don't be fooled stay your ground and if necessary sue them for harassment.

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balderdashedSep. 22, 10 8:03 AM

When my father passed away more than four years ago, I notified half a dozen creditors, with the assistance of an attorney, that his estate did not have any assets that could satisfy their claims. The only creditor that was a problem was Xcel Energy, which made no effort to collect one small, unpaid utility bill for three years, then apparently sold the debt to Asset Acceptance, LLC, which describes itself as "a leading purchaser and collector of charged-off consumer debt." Now the letters and phone calls won't stop, and the calls (which appear to come from a switchboard in India) end with a stern reminder of my father's "moral obligation." I don't fault bottom-feeders for acting like bottom-feeders, and would expect a collection agency that preys upon grieving families to continue to behave in such a manner. But the real problem is companies from whom we'd expect better, who sell the names and debts of their deceased customers for a few pennies. The debt is less than $100, and I could easily pay it, but I have no obligation to. The focus needs to be not just on collection agencies, but on the companies that dispatch them to do their dirty work -- while walking away from the consequences of harassing the deceased and their families, and claiming moral high ground.

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northwestmnSep. 22, 10 8:24 AM

I'll bet if death came to them they would stop.

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barbaraj77Sep. 22, 10 8:42 AM

We need more Todd Murray's to go up against debt collectors during this recession!! I remember the debt collectors during my mother & father passing. My family members had to yell at them they are DEAD! They even paid some credit card companies for protection they didn't receive afterwards. The debt collectors were even worse..They have no remorse or feelings what so ever!!! We need more to stand up for our rights especially with all the fraud that is out there!! God will bless Mr. Murray in many ways!! I commend him for his decission and the fight he took on to help others!!

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furry1Sep. 22, 10 8:45 AM

After my father passes away. We're more or less estranged, and he's very spendthrift. Having gotten a reverse mortgage and some retirement money, he seems to be living very much beyond his means at this point, while I'm striving to be debt free as much as possible, working tow jobs so I can pay off the house ASAP, driving a 9 year old paid off car, and the like. When he dies and they call me about his credit cards, I'm going to have no problem telling them. "Not my debt, not my problem."

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