Plaintiff Michelle Vullings was sent a debt collection letter that the complaint for this class action claims violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in two different ways.
The class for this action consists of
The FDCPA was passed to curb “the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices” which the Act says “contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.” Since then, courts have ruled that “the FDCPA’s legislative intent emphasizes the need to construe the statue broadly, so that we may protect consumers against debt collectors’ harassing conduct” as well as against the unfair, deceptive, or misleading practices prohibited by the law.
The FDCPA forbids “using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.” Exhibit A in this case is the envelope in which the debt collection letter was mailed to Vullings, bearing the company’s name, which the complaint alleges strongly implies that the company is in the debt collection business and thereby violates her privacy.
Also, the letter enclosed in the envelope, Exhibit B in this case, states, “[i]f we can answer any questions, or if you feel you do not owe this amount, please call us toll free”, which the complaint alleges violates the FDCPA’s debt validation provision. Consumers can dispute the amount of their debts, but simply telephoning the debt collector is not adequate under the FDCPA; the consumer must dispute the debts in writing, and must do so within thirty days. The complaint says that the letter therefore misleads or confuses the consumer.
The complaint cites the particular provisions of the FDCPA that the letter and its envelope violate.