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AvanteUSA “In Writing” Omissions in Debt Collection Letters FDCPA Class Action

Bill with Words "Final Notice" Stamped in Red

Consumer debtors often do not know their rights under the law, which is why the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires such precision in the language used in third-party debt collection letters. The complaint for this class action claims that AvanteUSA, Ltd., collecting on behalf of Cascade Capital, LLC, made an important omission in its collection letters in stating the validation rights of consumers.

The class for this action is

  • All individual with addresses in South Carolina
  • To whom Avante sent an initial collection letter trying to collect a consumer debt,
  • On behalf of Cascade,
  • Sent between July 27, 2017 and August 17, 2018,
  • That omits that the consumer must dispute the alleged debt in writing to be effective.

Plaintiff Shawn Johnson allegedly incurred a debt for medical services with Mount Pleasant Emergency Physicians, for personal, family, or household purposes.

At some point, Cascade acquired the debt and assigned Avante to collect it. Avante sent Johnson an initial collection letter on or around February 7, 2018. The letter has been attached to the complaint as Exhibit A.

The FDCPA requires that debt collectors inform consumers that they have the right to dispute debts. One of the most important items required in third-party debt collection letters is a notice of the consumer’s right to the validation of the debt. This notice must be provided either in the initial contact with the consumer or within five days of it. The complaint claims the February 7 letter was the initial contact between Avante and Johnson.

Unfortunately, the complaint claims that the letter left out two very important words: “in writing.” According to the complaint, the letter must tell the consumer that he or she must “(1) dispute the debt in writing to receive verification of the debt and (2) must submit written request to receive the identity of the original creditor.”

The complaint sums it up this way: “In omitting the writing requirement Defendant falsely communicates the consumer’s requirements under the FDCPA.” According to the complaint, consumers may end up waiving their rights simply because they have not been properly informed as to how to exercise them. This is a misrepresentation of the consumer’s rights and a failure to provide the information required by the law.

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