advice needed

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    I got a postcard in the mail today from a local store.

    The owner wrote that a while back, my neighbor shopped there and paid with a check that bounced.

    He tried calling this neighbor many times but she doesn’t pickup his calls.

    He requested that I try to help him out here. (I don’t know him, he picked my name out of the phone book.)

    I was wondering how to go about this letter?

    Should I inform my neighbor?(Can’t bring myself to do that)

    Should I call the store owner and provider him with my neighbor cell phone #?

    Should I ignore and stay out of trouble?

    Any other suggestions?


    I like the option of ignore.

    You should certainly not give out someone’s cell number without permission.

    I don’t think you should embarrass your neighbor by telling her.

    You really could tell the owner off for trying to get you involved, and relating lashon hara, but I don’t think you want the owner mad at you either- especially since he would probably send your whole block postcards to get back at you.


    While i sympathise with the owner trying to get his money-and it is very sad that people do not respond to such type of calls, letters, as though they can just walk off and ignore their debts and liabilities, i don’t think you should get involved. You can be sympathetic to the owner, but you have to tell him that regretfully you are not in a position to help him. Don’t lend your neighbor money.


    well said popa


    Don’t lend your neighbor money

    I’ve had my fair share with that too! B”H I got my money back after a while…

    Don’t get me wrong, they’re very nice people, but just a bit…unorganized perhaps.


    Is the owner of the store Jewish? While ignoring the whole story might be the easy way out, the fact is that your neighbor might be stealing in which case you would be doing his neshama a big favor by helping him rectify the situation.



    Without knowing the facts of this specific case, I can tell you that this strategy of contacting neighbors, relatives, friends and coworkers about a debt is a dirty one employed by collection agencies. It is quite likely illegal as well.

    The purpose of this type of contact is to:

    -embarrass the (alleged) debtor by publicizing the debt to acquaintances.

    -go fishing for additional info to be used for leverage vs. the debtor (don’t give your neighbor’s cell phone number, any other contact info, or even respond to to the collector).

    -enlist the help of an uninvolved third party in pressuring the debtor.

    The collector has no right to involve you in their debt collection efforts, and you owe them nothing response-wise.

    I’d notify the neighbor about what the store is doing, unless there’s a reason not to – e.g. the neighbor might grow belligerent to you.

    If you’re interested in more info on this topic, Google “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act”


    (the info below was cut-and-pasted from a site that specializes in helping debtors who are being harassed)

    Can a debt collector contact my friends, neighbors and relatives?

    Yes, a debt collector can call your friends, neighbors and relatives to try and locate you if you are dodging them or they can’t find you; however, if your friend, neighbor or relative asks them to stop calling, they must do so. When a debt collector calls your friend, neighbor or relative, they can only tell the third party who they are and who they are with (“I am with Acme Bank and I’m trying to locate John Doe”), but they cannot reveal your account number, that you have a delinquent debt, or other details of the delinquency. Of course, most people who receive such calls realize it is about a delinquent debt without the caller saying anything. Why else would they be so desperate to get in touch with the person that they would call them, right?

    Debt collectors will even contact your neighbors across the street whom you don’t even know. They will ask your neighbor to leave a message on your door asking you to call them. Although this tactic is designed to embarass and humiliate you, The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has not been interpreted to bar them from contacting your relatives and neighbors. Of course, these third parties might tire of receiving such calls and ask the collector to stop. In this event, the collector would be required to stop calling your neighbors and relatives.

    Of course, the best way to avoid a debt collector from contacting your relatives, friends and neighbors is to not avoid their phone calls. They only call relatives, neighbors and friends when you are avoiding them.


    The store owner was out of line in involving you. If the store owner is Jewish, suggest to him that he take the neighbor to a Din Torah, if he has no other recourse, but that it was Loshon Hara for him to write such a letter to you.

    Now for the dan l’kaf zchus part – maybe the letter you got was bogus. How would someone happen to hit on YOUR name in a phonebook of a gazillion names, the one person who lives next door to this person he claims owes him money. But even if not, it is not right for anyone to send out such a card to you or anyone else.

    doodle jump

    I think that you should stay out of it. Why would the store owner choose to solve the problem through you is beyond me. If it happened to me I would be very annoyed. Why do I need to know a neighbor’s financial problem? How embarrassing for them. How very unprofessional of the store owner. The guy is entitled to his money, but not through this. If you know that she is close to a certain Rebbitzin, broach the topic with her. She will know how to handle it. Nobody has to know about it. Hatzlacha.


    I agree that its not fair to involve you and if the store owner knows their address why doesnt he visit them and ask for his money in person?

    However, I keep thinking of the mitzvah, dont turn away from the lost object of your friend.

    So my suggestion is ask your LOR.


    i say dont get involved…let him take her to bais din, he can look their number up on whitepages too!!


    I too, believe the store owner did a very wrong thing by involving me, but that was already done. Now I’m wondering what I should do.

    It isn’t a scam. I know who the store owner is- a very Heimishe man. The card was written in his handwriting and looks very legit.(I’m always very suspicious of such mail/calls.)

    I think I will ignore this and let him deal with it.


    I worked in debt collections for many years, a third party agency has to follow the federal laws but a first party creditor such as a store owner is not bound by these regulations, in my view it wasn’t right to get you involved i would ignore it and let the store owner do their own work

    always here

    I also worked in credit & collections in the past.

    It was very wrong of the store owner to get in touch with you.

    Ignore it, don’t get involved.


    Thanks everyone for your advice. I will ignore this letter & can only pray that the store owner gets his money back.


    The Goq-

    A quick check confirms that you’re correct – as a first party collector, the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” doesn’t apply to the store owner.

    Thank you for the info.

    The site at which I confirmed “The Goq”s info further states “First-party collectors are regulated by your individual state law which, obviously, varies“.

    (Since this case involves heimishe people, it would obviously be best settled in a halachic manner by the customer and store owner.)


    A Heimishe owner?? Why does he NOT ask his Rav how to deal wiht it?? I once asked Rav Pam about hiring a collection agency and he looked horrified… We go to a Bais Din! Thats being Heimish!


    Rip it up and throw it out. Then forget it ever happened. Anyone can put in a check for collection when funds become available, if indeed a check bounced. Furthermore, if he knows where YOU live he knows where she lives so he can go knocking on her door or camp out on her lawn. You don’t know anything about the situation between the two, so consider it junk mail and forget about it.


    smartcookie -Be smart cookie! This is what I would do -cross off any info on the postcard that it came to you. Put the card in the guy’s mailbox or under their door. The neighboor got the message without involving you. Never & I mean never, reveal any private contact info you might know about your neighboor. Cell numbers- whatever. This would be worse than going to your neighboor and handing them the card and saying -this came for you!


    i would not want it should happen to me, so i think it’s discusting to involve neighbors, b/c it’s those people who you spend most with…. and you want to stay in good terms with them, and also get good eye to eye contact with them, what i mean, you dont want them talking behind your back, and espesially something that is important to you, as a bill unpaid. i hope i said it clear????


    Health- I thought of crossing out my info and leaving it by her door. However, I felt that this might hurt her a lot since she’ll never know which neighbor received it.

    She would always go around with a conscience of “who knows my secret?”

    I think it will make her uncomfortable to meet any neighbor.


    I doubt it. She might just think the neighbor got it by mistake.

    The reason I posted, not like the others to dump it, is because you said that the store owner is frum. Perhaps his letters and calls aren’t being ignored on purpose. So by you putting it the mail box or under the door, you might just help him get his money, if your neighbor isn’t aware of the situation. If your neighbor is ignoring the store on purpose -they will ignore this card also. But by you leaving it, it will almost for sure advise them of the situation, if they really want to correct it, but are not informed.


    Health- the card states- “this is in regards to a check received from YOUR NEIGHBOR, mrs.

    ,” and he goes on writing how he tried to call her. It’s obvious that he sent it to a neighbor.


    Instead of wasting his money sending post cards to the neighbors to spread loshon hora, he should have gone to his Rav or his Lawyer to find out how he can collect a debt “the right way”. Something does not smell right about his tactics therefore his attempt to spread loshon horah on your neighbor will only work if YOU fall for it.

    It would be a whole different situation if he KNEW YOU personally and asked you to do him a favor and speak to your neighbor b’shtika about a private financial matter between them. Since he chose to spread loshon horah he doesn’t seem like the ehrlich type and therefore there might be something not true about the story. It might just be sour grapes on his part or a completely different issue he is trying to get back at her about. in addition, there is always going to be some kind of “loss” in a grocery store. This is not something new and they account for it by building these possibilities into their prices. They also write these off on their taxes.

    So as I said earlier the best thing to do in this case is to chuck it and forget it.


    SC – “She would always go around with a conscience of “who knows my secret?” The answer to this question I posted -“I doubt it. She might just think the neighbor got it by mistake.”

    Take out the last line. It’s obviously not applicable -I didn’t know exactly what the card said. I still think my approach is the middle ground.


    People who write negetive about ones neighbor usealy have an agenda, not always what they write is what they have in mind, sometimes they are out on a smear campaign.


    just stick the postcard into his mailbox and he will see it and do what he wants

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