Class-Action Lawsuit Accuses Collector of Violating FDCPA By Including Credit Reporting Language in Letter

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in New Jersey alleging a collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by overshadowing the validation notice in a collection letter when it made reference to furnishing information to a credit reporting agency once the validation period expired.

A copy of the complaint in the case of Bernard v. I.C. System can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant that included the following disclosure: “The account information is scheduled to be reported to the national credit reporting agencies in your creditor’s name. You have the right to inspect your credit file in accordance with federal law. I.C. System will not submit the account information to the national credit reporting agencies until the expiration of the time period described in the notice below.”

The notice below refers to the validation disclosure, giving the plaintiff 30 days to dispute the validity of the debt.

According to the complaint, the letter “does not explain” what would happen after the expiration date if the plaintiff disputed his debt during the 30-day window. The complaint goes as far as to include a disclosure that the defendant could have used. That disclosure reads:

If you dispute the debt, request proof of the debt, or request the name of the original creditor in writing within the 30 day period described herein, the time period in which we will submit a negative credit reporting on your credit record to a credit reporting agency will be extended by the number of days from the date of your request to the date this office has mailed you the requested information.

By not detailing what would happen if the plaintiff disputed the debt, the letter allegedly violated Sections 1692e, 1692e(5), 1692e(10), as well as Sections 1692g(a)(3), 1692g(a)(4), 1692g(a)(5), and 1692g(b), according to the complaint. The complaint seeks to include anyone living in New Jersey or Pennsylvania who received a similar letter from the defendant.

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