The complaint for this class action alleges that Convergent Outsourcing, Inc. presented debt reduction arrangements as once-only, limited-time offers. The complaint says the offers would have been accepted at any time and their presentation as needing to be paid by a certain date violated the provisions of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by being misleading.
The class for this action is not specifically defined, but presumably it includes all consumer debtors who have received debt collection letters with similar offers from Convergent Outsourcing in the past year.
Plaintiff Juan Orozco allegedly owed a debt he incurred for personal, family, or household purposes. At some point, the debt was assigned for collection to Convergent Outsourcing. Convergent sent Orozco two letters about the debt.
The first, attached to the complaint as Exhibit A, was dated April 11, 2018. It showed a past due balance of $1,318.25. However, it offered to accept a lesser payment to satisfy the debt: “Our client has advised us that they are willing to satisfy your account for 30% of your total balance due to satisfy your past balance…. Your reduced balance amount would be $395.48.”
However, the letter also put a deadline on the offer: “The full reduced balance amount must be received in our office by an agreed upon date. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, call our office within 60 days of this letter.”
Convergent sent Orozco another letter dated June 5, 2018, which is attached to the complaint as Exhibit B. The letter contained a virtually identical “Reduced Balance Opportunity.” The complaint quotes the letter as saying, “If you have the ability, we can accept 30% of your total balance due to satisfy your account. The full amount of $395.48 must be received in our office by an agreed upon date. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, call our office within 14 days of this letter.”
The complaint alleges that the letters are misleading in that they present the reduced-amount arrangements as once-only, limited-time offers, yet they consist of virtually the same offer, extended twice and clearly not time-sensitive.
The complaint cites a previous court case as saying that the “obvious purpose” of an apparent one-time-only, take-it-or-leave-it offer is “to push the plaintiff to make a rapid payment…” The complaint claims that the offers were attempting to manipulate Orozco and other debtors to make payments that they “may not otherwise have been able to afford.”
The FDCPA prohibits third-party debt collectors from making misleading statements. Among other reasons, this is so that consumers can make informed decisions about how and when to pay their debts.