The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) seeks to make third-party debt collectors follow standards of clarity and honesty when collecting consumer debts. Among other things, it requires that debt collectors make clear the amount of the debt and whether or not the debt is still accruing interest. This complaint claims that a debt collection letter from LTD Financial Services, LP did not do this.
The class for this action is
Plaintiff Lareta Mirzadjanyan allegedly incurred a debt to Barclays Bank Delaware, which she used for personal, family, or household purposes. The owner of the debt assigned it at some point to LTD for collection.
To try to collect the debt, LTD sent out a collection letter dated July 8, 2018. A copy of the letter is attached to the complaint as Exhibit A.
The complaint takes issue with certain lines in the letter:
“The total amount of the debt due as of charge-off: $8,341.50.
“The total amount of interest accrued since charge-off: $0.00
“The total amount of non-interest charges or fees accrued since the charge-off: $0.00.”
The complaint claims that the last two lines imply that interest and other charges may begin to accrue on the debt unless she pays immediately.
However, according to the complaint, no interest or other charges were accruing; LTD is not entitled to add such interest or other charges, the complaint says, and never intended to add them.
The complaint quotes a previous, similar lawsuit, Wood v. Allied Interstate, LLC, as saying that a similar letter “reasonably could be read to imply that such charges would begin to accrue if Wood did not pay the debt. Why, after all, would Allied include a column for fees and collection charges, and insert a dollar figure ($0.00), if not to suggest that such fees and costs might accrue in the future?”
If LTD did not want to give this false impression, the complaint says, it could have entered the amount of interest and other fees as “N/A,” or simply not included those categories of charges in the letter. The letter is therefore false, deceptive, and misleading, the complaint says.
In addition, the complaint claims that Mirzadjanyan called LTD on August 8 to dispute the debt. According to the complaint, neither the representative who answered nor the person’s supervisor would accept the dispute. The complaint says, “Plaintiff’s oral dispute overcomes Defendant’s assumption of the validity of the Debt.”