A Pennsylvania debt collector is facing a class-action lawsuit in New Jersey after it was accused of sending an initial communication that included a statement in the validation notice that said a dispute could be filed either verbally or in writing.
A copy of the complaint in the case of Rodriguez v. Monarch Recovery Management can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant seeking to collect on an unpaid credit card debt that included the following statement:
Unless you notify this office verbally or in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt, or any portion thereof, this office will assume that this debt is valid. If you notify this office verbally or in writing within 30 days from receipt of this notice that the debt, or any portion thereof is disputed, this office will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment and mail it to you. If you request of this office verbally or in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice, this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. You can contact Monarch using any phone number or any address listed on this letter.
The plaintiff alleges that the letter does not comply with Section 1692g(a)(4) and 1692g(a)(5) of the FDCPA, which require that any dispute be made in writing. The statement included in the letter said that disputes may be made in writing and not that they had to be made in writing, the plaintiff alleges.
Such an offer may lead unsophisticated consumers to waive their rights to debt verification if they were to make a verbal dispute rather than a written one, according to the complaint. The plaintiff is seeking to include anyone else from New Jersey who received similar letters or notices that were sent by the defendant.