A Ypsilanti woman is claiming in a lawsuit filed in federal court this week that Kohl’s department store is harassing her with repeated collections calls – including 22 phone in one week – over a $20 bill.
Lisa Ratliff’s lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, alleges the department store chain violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which allows consumers to sue for damages, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The statute allows consumers to sue for $500 in damages per call, or if they can prove the company willingly violated the law, as Ratliff alleges, they can collect up to $1,500 per call.
That means the 22 calls Ratliff claims she received during a week in May could cost Kohl’s $33,000.
Ratliff, 29, told the Free Press she decided not to pay the charge because of what she considered the harassing nature of the collections efforts.
“I was like, ‘screw it, oh well,” she said.
The calls, which started in November 2013, sometimes came in late at night between midnight and 2 a.m., or as early as 6 a.m.
When collections efforts first started, Ratliff reportedly told the Kohl’s representative that she would pay the bill in full in two weeks, but the calls continued. She eventually obtained an application that would block the calls for her phone, but the collections agency managed to get through anyway.
Ratliff said she normally paid her bill in full each month and had a $400 credit line. Late charges have boosted the $20 bill to more than $100, her attorney told the Free Press.Kohl’s did not return calls from the Free Press asking for comment.