Billing notices: When does it become harassment?

I just got off the phone with an agency called Metro Express Lanes in Los Angeles; this agency manages the “carpool” lanes on a few freeways; these lanes are essentially toll lanes and drivers must have transponders which activate sensors in overhead signs that allow them to drive in those lanes. I did have delinquent status in my account but I received at least two mailed notices within one week, and an e-mail about it, warning me to pay the overdue balance and even threatening consequences if I did not pay. I acknowledge the debt; I said as much to the representative I spoke to but she said this is agency policy–I still said they should use some courtesy…isn’t there a thin line between reasonable billing policy and harassment? ( I did agree to make payment later this week.)

It may be auto generated. It is a bit much, but pay the debt you owe and that will be the end of it.

I would call out Verizon wireless on notification overkill. I have never had a late payment with them, nor do I have poor credit, so there is no rEason for them to treat me in an adversarial manner, but the amount of bill notifications I receive from them is excessive.

I get a paper bill monthly.

I get two emails per month - one comes the day after I pay my bill, informing me that my next billing statement is “available”, and one reminder email that comes one week before my payment is due.

I get several text messages throughout the month couched as reminders that my bill is due.

And finally, if I have not paid my bill by the day before it is due, I get a robot call reminder that my bill is due.

God forbid what a flurry of communications would ensue if I ever was late in my payment.

I would say you are the one harassing them. They should probably make you pay upfront from now on.

I have Verizon too. I think you can turn off the notifications you get. I only get a notice a bill is due via my bank, since they’re set up as one of my e-payments.

In one of his books, attorney Melvin Belli told about a barber who put a shaving mug in his window with the painted message, “John Smith owes this shop $1.15 for shaving.” (This was a long time ago, obviously.) Smith did owe the $1.15, and it was long overdue, but he felt that this was the wrong way to collect it. He brought suit, and collected–more than $1.15.

Not necessarily. I’m still periodically getting notices for debts that I paid off more than a decade ago.

See the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is the US federal law regulating debt collection:

Two pieces of mail and an email before you contact them does not look like a violation.

Thank you! I will look into that because I am really getting annoyed with the barrage of notices.

And in any case, those contacting the OP are not debt collectors; they originated and still own the debt, almost certainly uninterrupted.
HOWEVER - they can be restricted to contacting the OP by mail only.

I got my daughter a phone for Christmas. In order to get a phone, she had to keep - undamaged - an older iPhone that her grandpa upgraded from - which was on a month to month plan. I cancelled it when I activated the new one.

I received a phone call, asking when I was going to lay the overdue balance of $24. I replied “I haven’t gotten a bill yet?” He checked. The bill date was that day, but the account comes up as overdue due to the amount of time since I cancelled the phone.
He asked “When will you be taking care of this balance?”

I replied “How about after I get the bill?”


How about the endless phone calls and bulk mailings for extended auto warranties?

:mad: :rolleyes: :smack:

This may be the wrong place to vent, but I’ll do it anyway, thanks for the opportunity.

I moved out of my apartment on July 30, 2016. On or about July 20 I notified National Grid that I was terminating electric service on July 30.

They have continued to bill me for the period Aug. 1-the present (sending the bills for my old flat to my new address).

Finally last week I wrote to them, telling them I don’t owe them any money for the period Aug. 1-the present.

Now they send me a “dispute form” to fill out. They want all sorts of documentation from me, including (get this) a notarized letter from whoever *does *now live in the flat, saying that they, not I, owe National Grid for the period Aug. 1-the present!

Like someone is going to do that. Not to mention that I now live 40 miles away and have no idea who is currently living in the flat.

National Grid says that if they deny my dispute, I can still have it reviewed by DPH.

Isn’t an appeal/dispute supposed to be a *fair *hearing? How the hell is it fair when they ask for absurd documentation? I am not asking them for any absurd documentation.

Thanks for letting me rant, it seemed vaguely connected . . .

Years ago I had a somewhat different experience when a cousin of mine lived with us. I’ll call him Bill. I had just come home from driving him to work–he had recently come out here from Indiana and did not have a car. The call was from a local business; the agent told me this “Bill” had paid the business with a check which, it turned out, the bank had dishonored.
I said “Bill” was not at home and would not be back until some time that evening. The agent spoke to me as if I was Bill and I was lying about my identity and kept arguing about how I should make good on the debt. I insisted I was not Bill and that I knew nothing about it.
I finally got off the phone. I had a good mind to (1) contact a regional office for this business (a supermarket chain); (2) call the Torrance police; (3) call the telephone company–my Mom worked there and I was only too happy to report a harassing call. I wound up doing none of these things and Bill settled the matter on his own.

Most people contacted by phone about a delinquent debt lie about who they are, etc. That’s why the caller probably didn’t believe you.

People, and businesses who are owed money by deadbeats and liars kind of consider that they are being harassed also. . . by people they trusted. . who have violated that trust.

Pay your bills. Don’t turn our country into a third-world garbage pit !

This reminds me of when we moved here. In a couple weeks, I had made a number (not a huge number, maybe a half dozen) long distance phone numbers and they called me to ask when I was going to pay the bill. Not until you bill me, I said. Yes, but when will pay the bill. Not until you bill me, yes but when will you pay the bill. After a couple more iterations I hung up. They never called again. But they did a few other things so that I had an option to switch to another provider, I did.

Not speaking about harassment from a legal standpoint but from a disinterested third party standpoint:

It would be harassment if they were calling you multiple times a day or in the middle of the night or flooding your e-mail inbox. It would also be harassment if they were sending your neighbors and relatives copies of your overdue notice.

Two pieces of mail and one e-mail and a phone call in a week for a debt you legitimately owe? Not harassment.

Making plain the consequences of failure to pay is not discourteous, even if you find it unpleasant. I assume the phone call person was also professional in tone, and did not yell, lie or call you names.

The company is a business, and if they are dealing with a customer who has not paid a legitimate charge within a reasonable time frame, they may very well choose to dispense with customer courtesy niceties such as “Good afternoon, Mr. Monty, how are you doing today?” in order to get you to realize that they regard this to be a serious matter.