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Comenity Bank Collection Calls to Debtor’s Family and Friends Class Action

Ball and Chain Marked "DEBT"

At issue in this case are not just the usual violations of the TCPA and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It is Comenity Bank NA’s alleged practice of calling the friends and family of debtors. 

The complaint put its central charge this way: “Comenity has a corporate policy of repeatedly contacting family and friends of debtors … using this as a tool to humiliate and embarrass debtors as well as to intentionally cause aggravation and annoyance to their relatives and friends.”

The complaint claims that Comenity has an entire department for “skip tracing” or tracking down family members and friends of debtors.

Comenity appears to be a serial offender. The complaint claims that the company “is one of the top five companies with the most debt collection complaints in 2017” and has had over 100 individual lawsuits brought against it in recent years for violations of the TCPA. Unfortunately, it seems not to have changed it ways.

The complaint quotes from messages Comenity allegedly left in April 2019. For example, one says, “This urgent message is for Mr. David Geurrera from Mr. Quran from Comenity Capital Bank. Today is the 23rdof April, 2019 as we are urgently attempting to locate him at this hour….” 

However, as the complaint notes, “there is absolutely nothing ‘urgent’ about Comenity’s communications. Rather, these are garden-variety debt collection calls.” 

The complaint says, “Comenity creates this false sense of ‘urgency’ as a way to panic family members and friends with the hopes that they will call the alleged debtor and further instill panic in them, as well as to force the debtor to experience extreme embarrassment by forcing them to explain the debt-collection purpose behind the call… Ultimately, another purpose of this tactic is to make it so that family and friends feel harassed an ddemand that the alleged debtor resolve the debt to end the harassment.”

The complaint proposes a number of classes for this action.

  • The Comenity TCPA Class is all persons in the US to whose cell phone Comenity placed a nonemergency call relating to a debt, between May 31, 2015 and May 31, 2019, using substantially the same system(s) used to call the plaintiff in this case, where Comenity did not have express consent to call the persons’ cell phones.
  • The Skip Trace Subclass is all persons in the US to whose cell phones Comenity made a nonemergency call relating to a Comenity debt, using substantially the same systems used to call the plaintiff in this case, between May 31, 2015 and May 31, 2019, where Comenity obtained the number via a skip trace or similar means and where the number was not provided by the called party. 
  • There is also an FDCPA Class and an Invasion of Privacy Class.
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