The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) tries to ensure that consumer debtors are provided with all the information they need to make informed choices and are not confused or misled. The complaint for this class action alleges that Central Credit Services, LLC (CCS) violates the FDCPA because its deadline for special offers appears to conflict with the consumer’s right to verification of the debt.
The class for this action is
The FDCPA requires that debt collectors give consumers certain information, either in the initial contact with them or within five days thereafter. This information cannot be contradicted or “overshadowed” by other information in the communication.
The letter from CCS to plaintiff Troy Norton is attached to the complaint as Exhibit A. It is dated June 14, 2018 and concerns an alleged debt to First Premier Bank.
The FDCPA requires that consumers be given notice of their right to dispute the debt, or any part of it, within thirty days. The letter in question does this. However, the complaint alleges that this notice is overshadowed by the terms of certain offers to resolve the debt that the letter also contains.
That section of the letter begins, “If you are unable to remit the total balance for the Account(s), we have two payment options available to you, we are not obligated to renew these offers.” Then follows a description of Option 1, payment of the balance over three months in three installments, and Option 2, a single payment of a reduced amount. To accept either of these offers, the consumer is required to make a payment by July 31, 2018.
First, the letter contends that the July 31 deadline is a false deadline, as CCS is able to accept the offers at any time.
Second, the complaint says, the deadline on the offers may overshadow the right to dispute the debt, because the deadline falls very close to the end of the thirty-day period. If the letter was sent on July 14, it would have been received by June 16 or later, and a reply to accept an offer would also take time. This raises a question: If the consumer chooses to dispute the debt, will she lose the chance to pay via one of the offers? The right to dispute the debt may therefore be overshadowed by the urgency of the deadline.