Remember James Ricobene, the suburban Chicago man who fell behind on his Mercedes payments and found a threatening wall post on his daughter’s MySpace page a few weeks later? Yeah, we thought that was bad, but some of you had much worse tales from the collection agency annals.
But the tale of Phoenix’s Jennifer Dicks and her delinquent Chevy Cavalier is so beyond we fully expect Lifetime to option the story for a film. Last year Dicks (allegedly) bought a Chevy Cavalier with a loan from the Auto Financing Network, a local auto loan company that claims to approve 100% of applicants for loans. AFN’s website claims its Top 3 Priorities of 2008 are #1 Treat Customer Right #2 Treat Customer Right #3 Treat Customer Right.
A new motto for 2009 might be in order. (“Treat Customer Like Psycho Ex-Girlfriend”?) In a lawsuit filed against the company in an Arizona superior court Dicks claims the collection agency went so far as to buy the url that matches her name and create a “Jennifer Dicks isn’t paying for her Cavalier!” website.
In January, the complaint says, Dicks got a call from an AFN representative named Tiffany informing her she was two months behind on her payments. She made a payment, but her car was repossessed five days later. When she returned to AFN lot to retrieve it, she was told her payment hadn’t gone through and that the company had managed to repossess the car quickly because they’d hidden a GPS tracking device in the car.
In early April Dicks fell behind on her payments again. This time, the lawsuit claims, AFN registered the URL to Dicks’ name and created a site titled “Jennifer Dicks isn’t paying for her Cavalier!”
And that’s when the relentless text message campaign of shame began. On the other side of the phone was someone identifying himself as AFN President Michael Fischer, who started, innocently enough, by (allegedly) imploring Dicks to “Call me.” Gradually he became more desperate. Here are some (alleged) highlights from the dozens of texts quoted in the complaint, which accuses AFN of a litany of charges including consumer fraud, invasion of privacy and defamation:
You need to call me. This has put me in a bad spot. I know you don’t give a shit but I do. I need the car back.April 10:
Can you quit playing games and give me the car?April 11:
I’m 2 miles away coming to your house…are you home? Neeee the car.April 15:
You need to call me…This isn’t fair to me. Do you have no soul?April 18:
All you do is lie. It isn’t registered to you so call again. I wish you died when you fell off the roof. If ur not married good. He can do soooo much better.And:
LOL. I’m sure he is really good. You will need him because az allows us to call the car in stolen. Please send him this, you are fucked!And:
No you didn’t or you would be so stupid. Do you actually think you get a free car? Are you that fucking retarded. You are just a loser. Don’t text me.And also: (“Steve” is apparently the boyfriend/husband who could do soooo much better)
The website I’m putting up has all public records and more importantly its true. I also have pics of steve in hospital after his cycle wreck.April 22:
lol. I love you. You are acting like th victim and its you that isn’t paying…so funny. Okay, got a date so see you in court.”
Dicks blames Fischer’s alleged effort to shame her into turning in her Chevy for causing her “sleeplessness, frequent nightmares, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, irritability, guilt, helplessness, embarrassment, humiliation, depression, fear of answering the telephone and fear of answering the door which have all greatly impacted her personal relationships,” which, um, sounds about right.
Fischer wasn’t immediately available for comment, but an AFN manager was familiar with the lawsuit and assured us a call back. But according to JenniferDicks.com, Dicks still isn’t paying for her Cavalier.