ABC News and Diane Sawyer ran a story a few weeks ago about Diana Mey of W. Virginia, on “Nightline”. Diana Mey sued and 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,” Diana said. She was the victim of a vicious debt collection company called RFA, who threatened and harassed Diana. They called her vulgar names, threatened sexual assault and said they would take her house. RFA even manipulated the caller ID to make it look like the calls were coming from the local sheriff’s office. “I was so frightened. I felt violated, but then I realized, I’m taping this call,” Mey said. “I pulled myself together and I thought I can get through this. Just keep on talking buddy…”

Debt collector abuse is rampant. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reported a 17% increase in complaints from last year. Debt collectors purchase old, outdated debts for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect, usually with harassing tactics. The debtor information is usually inaccurate and the collectors often go after the wrong people, like Diana Mey. Millions of Americans are victims of this kind of mistaken debtor identity. Some victims have become so frightened that they have actually paid debts that are not their own.

Diana Mey knew the federal law protects consumers from these harassing collectors; the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This law makes it illegal for collectors to threaten you, lie to you, call you repeatedly and much more. She got a lawyer and fought back. Last May, Diana sued RFA for harassment and illegal collection practices. 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.

“I hope that it sends a message to other debt collectors out there that you have to follow the law,” she said. “Because if you don’t, there are going to be people out there that are going to stand up against you.”

Moral of the story: You should know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows consumers to hire lawyers who can sue debt collectors for violating the FDCPA. These lawsuits cost you nothing – they are free for you. The attorneys’ fees and costs are shifted, by law, to the Defendant to pay. The consumer walks away with a measure of justice and a check from the debt collector. In our office, we often are able to have the debt reduced or eliminated as well.

If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882 (toll free). For more information about your rights as a consumer, visit our website at, which is filled with informative videos and advice to help you deal with abusive debt collectors.