Plaintiff Sues Collector Over Payment Method Requirement, Lack of Email Opt-Out

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A collection agency has been sued for violating Regulation F and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it said in a collection letter that it would accept multiple forms of payment, but when the plaintiff sought to make a payment, allegedly informed her that the payment had to be made via Moneygram, and because it failed to include opt-out instructions in emails that a representative exchanged with the plaintiff regarding how to make the payment.

A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant, offering to settle an unpaid apartment lease debt for 50% of the balance. The letter included a payment coupon where the plaintiff could write in a Visa or MasterCard number to make a payment. At the bottom of the letter, under the heading of “Payment Options,” were instructions about how to make a payment by visiting the defendant’s website, by calling the defendant, by mailing in a check or money order, or submitting the coupon at the top of the letter, or by making a payment via Moneygram.

The plaintiff called the defendant to accept the offer and make a payment, via credit card. The plaintiff was allegedly informed that the only acceptable payment method was via Moneygram. A representative of the defendant sent an email to the plaintiff, recounting the conversation and providing instructions about how to make a payment via Moneygram. The plaintiff responded to the email, indicating she did not want to pay via Moneygram and wanted to pay with a credit card and noted that the letter offered her more than one payment method. The representative emailed back, saying that the company had a “policy that settlement offers must be in certified funds.”

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter and emails violated Sections 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA because of the allegedly misleading statements in the letter about how the debt could be repaid and Section 1006.6(e) of Regulation F because the emails sent by the representative did not include opt-out instructions.

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