After suffering severe spine and head injuries several years ago while serving in the U.S. Army, Michael Collier was declared 100 percent disabled, a point a debt collector allegedly decided to use against him during what sounds like the most awful phone call ever.
Trouble for Collier and his wife, Kim, began when a Minnesota-based law firm and debt collection agency “illegally garnished their savings to cover a defaulted student loan and verbally abused them when they asked for their money back,” Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman reports.
As a disabled Army vet, Collier’s Social Security payments are exempt from debt garnishment. However, the law firm Gurstel Chargo, which has since released a statement on this story, took funds from Kim’s savings account anyway to pay off a $6,000 defaulted student loan.
“At a court hearing back in May, a judge ordered Kim’s credit union to unfreeze her assets effective immediately after definitively declaring that her account was exempt from garnishment,” Zimmerman reports.
But it wasn’t going to be that easy for Collier. After the judge made his decision, a Gurstel employee told the disabled vet he would need to get a lawyer if he wanted to “get his money back,” according to a complaint filed on behalf of the Arizona couple. Collier decided that this was getting out of hand and figured he’d call and try to sort things out over the phone.
This is the point where everything reportedly went to pieces.
The complaint alleges the following conversation took place between Collier and an unidentified Gurstel Chargo paralegal:
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