Friday, July 8, 2011

Still another mystery

What's the point of robo-calls from collection agencies?

I swear that it's a rare day that I don't come home to find a message on the answering machine from some outfit attempting to dun someone I've never heard of for unpaid debts. The message always says something to the effect of "This call is for Joe Schmoe. If you are not Joe Schmoe, hang up now. By continuing to listen to this message, you are acknowledging that you are indeed Joe Schmoe. This call is being made for purposes of collecting a debt. Call this number 888-no-one-will-ever-answer to make arrangements for payment."

After being the recipient of numerous messages for Mr. Schmoe and other deadbeats, we tried calling the toll free number to ask them to please purge our phone number from their robo-call list. It was a slow afternoon -- the S.O. sat there listening to Muzak for a long, long time (half an hour? 45 minutes?) and no human ever picked up the phone. We just wanted them to stop annoying us, but what if we'd actually been Joe Schmoe and wanted to send them money? Why waste energy making dunning calls if on the rare occasion someone responds, no one's home at the collection agency to tell the debtors where to send the checks?

And for sure why waste resources on robo-calling? What the odds that random phone calls to people completely unconnected to the debtors are ever going to result in them actually finding anyone? Or are they operating under the theory that if they call everyone in the 404 area code, sooner or later good ol' Joe will actually pick up the phone?


  1. It may just be some computer hack amusing himself? Or recording who actually answers, for what reason I don't know. Maybe to build a list of who answers their phones? And then sells that list to others?

    My cell phone allows me to block numbers and it's cheaper than my land line service was, but only cuz I don't use a phone much.

  2. It's the land line that gets the calls from the collection agency.

    I don't think it's a hacker. I'm more inclined to label it "going through the motions of pretending to try to contact the debtor so when we go into court to garnish his wages we can claim we tried to find him."

  3. I hope those don't start coming to me here. We get enough calls from live debt collectors since my husband and I have very common names!

  4. You called the number, therefore you are now legally Joe Schmoe. Expect a knock on the door from a process server in the near future. Or who knows; maybe it was one of those dragnet operations by law enforcement, and a 4AM visit by the "no-knock process servers" is imminent!


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