Raleigh couple sues over collection calls

By Kelly Holleran | Mar 19, 2009

BECKLEY -- A Raleigh County couple is suing two major debt collection agencies, saying they received at least 89 phone calls throughout a three-month span in which the companies tried to collect credit.

BECKLEY -- A Raleigh County couple is suing two major debt collection agencies, saying they received at least 89 phone calls throughout a three-month span in which the companies tried to collect credit.

Carter M. and Brenda L. Stover are seeking unspecified actual, statutory, general and punitive damages for the inconvenience and annoyance the companies have caused them.

According to the Stovers' complaint, filed Jan. 22 in Raleigh Circuit Court, they went into debt after purchasing goods from Fingerhut that they financed through Fingerhut's financing arrangement with CIT Bank.

The Stovers began to file late payments, which caused Fingerhut and CIT to begin calling them and mailing them letters requesting the money, the suit states.

Because of the companies' attempts to collect debt, the Stovers retained Ralph C. Young and Christopher B. Frost of Hamilton, Burgess, Young and Pollard in August to represent them.

During the same month, the Stovers began to advise calling collectors that they were represented by an attorney, they claim.

Still, the phone calls did not end. The companies proceeded to place more than 89 phone calls to the Stovers' house between Oct. 3 and Jan. 21, according to the complaint.

Because of the phone calls, the Stovers have suffered emotional distress and have been annoyed, inconvenienced, harassed, bothered, upset, angered and harangued, the suit states.

The Stovers claim the companies have repeatedly violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

In addition to the damages they are seeking, the Stovers are asking the court to conclude that Fingerhut's and CIT's actions were violations of the WVCCPA. They are also seeking costs, attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems appropriate.

Fingerhut and CIT removed the case to federal court because the Stovers are residents of a different state than the companies and a diversity of citizenship exists. The Raleigh County couple is also seeking more than $75,000, further grounds for the case to be removed to federal court.

Bryant J. Spann and Peter G. Markham of Allen, Guthrie and Thomas in Charleston will be representing Fingerhut and CIT.

U.S. District Court case number: 5:09-0152

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