Lisa Ratliff of Ypsilanti, Michigan is probably going to stop shopping at Kohl’s. The 29-year-old woman says she intended to pay off a $20 balance on her overdue credit card bill, but when she started getting multiple reminder calls on a daily basis, she got so annoyed she decided to take the retail chain to court. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Ms. Ratliff has filed a lawsuit claiming that Kohl’s, “violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a 1991 law that makes it illegal to call a cell phone using an auto dialer or prerecorded voice without the recipient’s consent.”
Ms. Ratliff claims it was the persistence that got her goat. “They started harassing me over $20 and I was like, ‘Screw it, oh well,’ ” the Michigan resident told the Detroit Free Press.“It’s really annoying if you’re trying to get things done or you’re trying to sleep or you’re working or spending time with your family…I just want them to stop harassing me.” She says she asked Kohl’s to stop calling her and even tried blocking their number, but it didn’t work. The lawsuit claims she received as many as 22 calls in one week, some as early as 6 AM, others after midnight.
WJBK FOX 2 spoke with their legal analyst, Charlie Langton, to find out if Ms. Ratliff might actually have a case here. According to Mr. Langton, she just might. “First of all, debt collectors have a job to do, they’re trying to collect the debt, but they have to do it in the law,” Mr. Langton says. “The law has very strict guidelines as to what you can do. Debt collectors can’t call you before 8 AM, after 9 PM, they can’t harass you, they can’t call your employer…they’re supposed to give you a detailed letter as to what you owe.” Mr. Langton suggested that Kohl’s should have sued Ms. Ratcliff instead and that they would have more easily received their money that way.
Adam Krohn, one of the attorneys representing Ms. Ratliff, told the Detroit Free Press that his client is in the right. “People believe that unless (collectors) are swearing at them or being utterly abusive, calling 20 times a day, that they should just take it, when in fact the standard is much less,” Mr. Krohn told the paper. “(Consumers) need to understand their level of tolerance doesn’t have to be as high as it’s perceived.” Because of late fees and interest, Ms. Ratliff owes $100 to Kohl’s at the moment. However, she may be due as much as $1,500 per call that violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.