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DISCLAIMER: This article is based on a complaint. The defendant has not responded to the complaint to present its side of the case. The claims mentioned are accusations and should be considered as such until and unless proven otherwise.
A collection agency is being accused of violating Regulation F and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not including an opt-out disclosure in text messages it sent to an individual attempting to collect on an unpaid debt.
A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, can be accessed using the case number 22-03269.
The plaintiff allegedly received eight identical text messages from the defendant between June 21 and August 11, but the complaint does not say which year, but I think that means they were sent this year. The messages each said:
From: NAME REDACTED
We are contacting you regarding an important personal business matter. This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose. This is a text from a debt collector. Please call us at REDACTED or pay online using reference number 215694395 at REDACTED.
The text messages, according to the complaint, did not include any instructions for how the plaintiff could opt out of receiving text messages to his phone. The plaintiff also claims to have never received a notice from the defendant “describing his opportunity to request validation or which even identifies the creditor for whom the Defendant is seeking to collect.”
The complaint accuses the collector of violating Section 1692g(a) of the FDCPA, Section 1006.6(e) of Regulation F, and the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.
To prove that actual damages were suffered, the plaintiff listed the following issues:
- An inability to halt unwanted text messages to his cell phone;
- Uncompensated time expended away from work and/or activities of daily living, to address Defendant’s unwanted text messages;
- Disturbance of the Plaintiff’s peace and his right to be free of communications from the Defendant by text;
- An inability to investigate the debt in collection;
- The Plaintiff suffered a violation of his right to privacy;
- Anxiety and worry caused by concern that Defendant was going to continue initiating unwanted communications at times that were inconvenient for the Plaintiff