The complaint for this class action takes issue with a number of items in a debt collection letter sent by United Tranzactions, LLC. The complaint says these items, explained below, violate both the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and California’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA).
Around February 2018, plaintiff Paul Stephens allegedly incurred a consumer debt to Kearny Pearson Ford Kia, for personal, family, or household purposes. At some point, the debt was assigned to United Tranzactions for collection.
United Tranzactions wrote Stephens a debt collection letter around April 3, 2018 that the complaint claims violates certain provisions of federal and California debt collection law.
Requirement to dispute the debt by mail
The letter asked Stephens to send requests to “validate this debt to: United Tranzactions, 3200 Executive Way, Miramar, FL 33025.”
The complaint claims that any written disputation of the debt is valid, including a fax or an e-mail and that the requirement to send a letter is burdensome. Not only does it take longer to create and send a letter, the complaint says, the requirement also does not allow Stephens to use the written dispute methods available on the company’s website.
Debt will be assumed valid by creditor
The letter states, “If you fail to dispute the debt within thirty (30) days, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the creditor.” However, what the law says is that if Stephens does not dispute the debt within thirty days, it will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector.
The complaint says, “Accordingly, the Defendant’s notice indicates to the consumer that it is appropriate to dispute the validity of the debt with the creditor as opposed to the debt collector.” This is incorrect.
Additional interest, costs and penalties
The letter says, “Payment may be arranged so that you can avoid the potential for additional interest, costs and penalties, as permitted by law.” The complaint says this implies that Stephens must take immediate action or he might have to pay more than the amount required.
The letter also told Stephens to pay $25 in “service charges.” The complaint says that this fee was not part of the agreement creating the debt and that United Tranzactions is not authorized to collect it.
Disclosure of debt collector
Finally, the letter included an illegible line. The complaint takes the line as being the disclosure that the letter is from a debt collector, but it is partly illegible and therefore does not properly convey the information.
The complaint defines four classes and three subclasses connected to these alleged violations. For details, see pages 8 and 9 of the complaint linked below.