FDCPA Class-Action Complaint Accuses Collector of Overshadowing

Does threatening to permanently disconnect an individual’s suspended cell phone service constitute overshadowing? That particular individual is alleging that it does, accusing a collector of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in a class-action lawsuit.

A copy of the complaint in the case of Henry v. Convergent Outsourcing can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant. The letter, in part, stated:

Verizon Wireless has placed this account with our office for collection. This is formal notification that your Verizon Wireless service will be permanently disconnected unless the seriously past due balance on this account is paid in full.

Your service was previously suspended when your account became past-due. If your account is permanently disconnected, you may lose your wireless number and be responsible for additional costs, including any applicable early termination fees.

Your Verizon Wireless account will not be permanently disconnected until after the expiration of the time period described on the reverse side of this letter.

For your convenience, you can pay by phone by dialing our toll-free number below. We accept checks, debit cards and most major credit cards. Payments can be made 24 hours a day, free of charge.

The complaint doesn’t mention it, but it sounds like the standard 30-day dispute window was what the defendant was referencing when it mentioned “the expiration of the time period described on the reverse side of this letter” as part of the dispute disclosure.

The complaint alleges the defendant violated Section 1692e(10) of the FDCPA because made a false and misleading representation and Section 1692e(2)(A) of the FDCPA because the letter falsely represented the character, amount of legal status of the debt. The complaint also alleges the letter violated Section 1692g of the FDCPA because it threatened “to sue even if validation was requested” which “completely” overshadowed the dispute notification.

The plaintiff is seeking to include anyone in Florida who received a letter from the defendant that referenced having their cell phone permanently disconnected.

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