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LTD Financial Services Notice to Dispute Debts in Writing FDCPA Class Action

Papers on Clipboard Saying "Debt Collection"

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) tries to protect consumers from abusive and false debt collection practices. The complaint for this class action claims that LTD Financial Services, LP violated the FDCPA by omitting that consumers must dispute their debts in writing. 

The class for this action is

  • All individuals with addresses in New Jersey
  • To whom LTD sent an initial collection letter trying to collect a consumer debt
  • That was sent between October 23, 2017 and November 13, 2018, and
  • That omitted the requirement that a consumer’s dispute of the debt must be in writing.

The FDCPA governs the activities of third-party debt collectors. Among other things, it requires that debt collectors give consumer debtors certain information about their debts and their rights under the law in the initial contact with the consumer or within five days thereof.

One thing a debt collector must do is inform consumers of their right to dispute the debt or any portion of it. This involves three statements. First, that unless the consumer disputes the debt within thirty days after receiving the letter, the debt will be assumed to be valid. Second, that “if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period” of a dispute, “the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment against the consumer” and will send it to the consumer. Third, that “upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.”

Plaintiff Igor Vedernikov claims he received an initial contact letter from LTD that did not include either of the requirements to put the dispute in writing. 

Vedernikov had allegedly borrowed money from Barclays Bank Delaware, for personal, family, or household purposes. The debt was at some point assigned to LTD for collection. The letter it sent to Vedernikov was dated August 10, 2018. 

The complaint also claims that one of the sentences in the letter begins, “If you notify us in writing…” The complaint alleges this makes it sound like putting the dispute in writing is optional.

Putting the complaint in writing is important to preserve rights, the complaint claims. The FDCPA says that “if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty day period … that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed … the debt collector shall cease collection … until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt … and a copy of such verification if mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.”

The complaint quotes an earlier court case as finding that “any dispute, to be effective, must be in writing.”

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