What can a consumer do when they call to dispute a debt and the debt collector refuses to even take note of the dispute? The complaint for this class action claims that the refusal to accept a dispute of a debt is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
The class for this action is all New York consumers, for whom Professional Claims Bureau threatened not to communicate a disputed debt, in violation of the FDCPA, from June 26, 2017 to the present.
Congress passed the FDCPA to curb the abuses of third-party debt collectors, who sometimes used deception, threats, intimidation, or other unacceptable means to pressure consumers to pay their debts. The law also aimed to ensure that debt collectors who did not use abusive practices were not at a disadvantage to those who did.
The law sets forth certain rights of consumer debtors and the requirement that they be provided with certain information by debt collectors. One of the things debt collectors must inform consumers about is their right to dispute a debt, or any part of it, and to receive validation of the debt.
Plaintiff Svetlana Zazovskaya allegedly owed an overdue medical debt to North Shore-LIJ Medical Group.
At some point, the debt seems to have been assigned to the Professional Claims Bureau, Inc. for collection. The complaint claims that Zazovskaya received a debt collection letter from the company on or about May 22, 2018.
On May 30, the complaint says, Zazovskaya had a translator help her make a call to the company. They told a representative of Professional claims they wanted to dispute the debt, but the representative said that they could not dispute a hospital debt.
According to the complaint, the representative should have accepted the dispute and the company should have investigated it. The complaint cites various other court cases to assert that consumers have a right to dispute debts at any time, that the debt collector is required to accept the dispute, and that the consumer does not even need a reason to dispute a debt. Instead, the representative merely attempted to offer Zazovskaya a settlement.
The complaint says that consumers have a right to dispute their debts under the FDCPA, making the company’s statements to Zazovskaya false and misleading. Also, the complaint says, the company denied Zazovskaya her legal right to validation.