Source : ABC News
In a twist of irony, a West Virginia woman is trying to collect money from a collection agency. Diana Mey, of Wheeling, W. Va., won the largest judgment ever against an abusive debt collection company — more than $10 million.
“I’m a mom, and I’m a housewife, and I’m an accidental activist,” Mey said.
From her small-town home base in Wheeling, Mey went after a debt collection empire that hounds people nationwide and won. But she still hasn’t received any money.
“I don’t know that I’ll ever collect a dime, but if I can get their operation shut down, that would make me very happy.”
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At the time, Mey said she didn’t make a connection between that call and the collectors. But then she learned the call hadn’t come from the local sheriff’s office after all. The caller ID had been manipulated to look like it did, a practice called spoofing. That’s when she went online and discovered complaints about RFA debt collectors pretending to call from sheriff’s offices, including a male collector who called women vulgar names.
You see, Diana Mey has battled big companies over intrusive phone calls before. In 1999, she won a class action lawsuit against a major telemarketer whose salesmen kept calling people, even when asked to stop. People magazine named her one of the “Most Intriguing People of the Year.” That’s why Mey has recorded her phone calls ever since.
Mey says it took her a year to find attorneys who would sue on her behalf. Wheeling lawyers Martin Sheehan and Patrick Cassidy took the case knowing they would probably never get paid.
“Yes, I like to make money, ” Sheehan said, “but at some level there’s something so atrocious you have to let people come into your office and say — that’s wrong and I’m going to do something about it.”
Last May, Mey sued RFA for harassment and illegal collection practices. In August, RFA’s lawyer failed to show up in court, so Mey testified unopposed. The judge called RFA’s actions “malicious” and ruled that all of the allegations were true. And then he awarded that record judgment of $10,860,000.