A collection law firm in Virginia is being sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by misrepresenting the amount of attorney involvement in drafting collection letters and for charging “unreasonable” fees to individuals who do not pay their rent.
A copy of the complaint in the case of Lord et al v. Senex Law, P.C., can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant collects on unpaid rents owed to landlords across Virginia, according to the complaint. The landlords send the law firm a list of individuals who have not paid their rents, and then the firm sends out collection letters — on the landlord’s letterhead. The letters are purportedly signed by a representative of the landlord, when in fact they were signed by the defendant, according to the complaint. Along with seeking to collect on the unpaid rent, each letter also includes an additional fee of $30 for attorneys’ fees, according to the complaint, even though the work done “is not legal in nature, but rather standard debt collection tasks routinely
performed by non-attorney debt collectors,” according to the complaint. Claiming that an attorney has been involved and demanding attorneys’ fees “mislead and confuse tenants about the nature and seriousness of the situation,” the complaint alleges.
The complaint also alleges the defendant is not making the proper disclosures under Section 1692g of the FDCPA.
The plaintiffs filed the class-action complaint, alleging that thousands of letters have been sent by the defendant to individuals across Virginia.
“Senex Law has taken extraordinary measures to try and skirt the protections Congress put in place to try and prevent abusive debt collection practices. They lurk in the shadows so they can flout necessary consumer protections and charge attorneys’ fees that put Virginians who are already in financial trouble further into the hole,” said Brenda Castañeda, Legal Director with the Legal Aid Justice Center, who is representing the plaintiffs, in a statement.