NH1 News Investigates: Harassment Hell
Have you ever gotten one of those letters in the mail or phone calls from a debt collecting agency saying that you owe money?
One Manchester woman did, and she called us for help.
Pauline Gagne showed us the pile of letters.
They claim she owes more than $13,000 to BJ's Wholesale Club.
Trouble is, she says, she's never even shopped there.
When was asked Gagne if she thought she was a victim, she replied, "I think so. I think it's fraud."
The letters say they're an attempt to collect a debt.
The so-called debt collection agency, Hunter Warfield of Tampa, Florida, wants Gagne to call and give them some very personal information.
"A copy of my driver's license and my social security number," Gagne says. When asked if she ever gave that information to them, Gagne says, "No, of course not."
Why not, we asked.
"That's my business," she says. "Nobody else's."
She called back several times and never got a straight answer.
So just like Pauline, we called the numbers on the letterhead. They answered by saying, "Doing great. Thank you very much. How may I help you today?"
When we told him we were from NH1 News, we began to ask him, "I'm just curious. Is this organization..."
And that's when he hung up on us leaving us asking, "Hello? Hello?"
I called back and asked if they handled accounts like BJ's.
The representative told me no.
So we dug deeper only to find pages and pages of people claiming that just like Pauline, they too have been harassed by the company.
The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office says companies not only say they'll ruin your credit, but they'll also go so far as to threaten people with jail time.
"They often times prey on people who they think are more vulnerable, senior citizens," says Boffetti.
As for Pauline, she's now called her lawyer.
"No one should have your social security number unless it's someone you trust," Pauline says.
If you're getting similar threatening letters or harassing phone calls, you're urged to call the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office consumer hotline.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Justice the Attorney General's Office, the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau acts to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive trade practices in New Hampshire. When a business does not provide services or products, misrepresents its services or products, or does not provide quality services or products, the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau may question the business practices and seek appropriate measures to remedy the situation on behalf of the State of New Hampshire. The Bureau's mission also includes consumer education and outreach. The best consumer protection is widespread public awareness of consumer's rights and common scams to prevent problems. This website is designed to provide such essential information to New Hampshire's consumers.
Consumer Protection Hotline:
1-888-468-4454 or (603) 271-3641
Weekdays 9am to 3pm
Contact information for the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau:
Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau
Office of the Attorney General
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 271-3643
Fax: (603) 223-6202