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Comenity Bank Pursuit of Identity Theft Debts California Class Action

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It’s bad enough to be a victim of identity theft, as plaintiff Lori Ann Gonzales was. But what if you were then pursued for the debts? The complaint in this class action says Comenity Capital Bank pursued Gonzales for debts that were not hers and did not follow the legal requirements for claims of identity theft. 

In 2017 and 2018, Gonzales learned that someone had opened multiple accounts in her name. Two were credit card accounts, with Overstock.com and Blair.com, issued by Comenity. Unfortunately, the way she learned about these accounts was via calls from Comenity trying to collect on these accounts.

Gonzales said the accounts were not hers and told the bank she was a victim of identity theft. The complaint says that Comenity did not tell Gonzales that such claims must be made in writing. 

In March 2018, Gonzales received a letter from the bank, threatening legal action and naming a law firm that it had retained to pursue the matter. The complaint alleges that the letter was deceptive because Comenity only sues to collect debts that meet certain criteria. It says bank does not sue for an amount as small as the Overstock.com debt, which was only $642.

In August, Gonzales put her claim of identity theft in writing and sent to Comenity a letter for each account, together with a police report, certification satisfying legal requirements, and questions about the opening of the Blair account. Comenity rejected the claims and ignored the questions. It continued to try to collect.

Gonzales sent another two letters in December, asking for information about the opening of both accounts. The bank did not answer her questions, give any indication that they had reviewed her claim, or tell her about any deficiency. The complaint says the bank’s response was not in keeping with what the law requires for identity theft. 

Four classes have been defined for this action, all for persons in California in dealings with Comenity:

  • A Lawsuit Threat Class, for those who were falsely threatened with a lawsuit about a debt.
  • An Oral Identity Theft Claim Class for those whom Comenity did not tell that the claim must be in writing.
  • A Written Identity Theft Claim Class for those who made a claim in writing where Comenity did not follow the subsequent legal requirements. 
  • An Information Request Class for those who asked Comenity for information about the false account and did not receive it. 

See the complaint linked below for details of each class. 

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