Advanced Call Center Technologies, a Berwyn, Pa.-based collection agency, will pay more than $1.5 million to a Lewisville, Texas man after a jury found the agency harassed him with racially charged phone calls.
Allen Jones saved the vulgar voice mails as evidence. Collectors at the agency confessed to making eight expletive-filled calls to Jones, seeking to collect an $81 credit card debt. Jones said he told collectors in his first communication with the agency that he had already paid the bill.
The Dallas County (Texas) jury, after a two-week trial, found that the agency violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and awarded Jones $1.5 million in punitive damages, $143,000 in attorney's fees and $50,000 in mental anguish.
The messages made all the difference, says Mark Frenkel, one of Jones' attorneys. "If we did not have tapes, no one would ever believe that this happened."
Two employees with the agency named in Jones' lawsuit no longer work at the company, according to Dean Siotos, a lawyer for Advanced Call Center Technologies. The calls were made in August 2007.
Agency officials did not return calls seeking comment.