Complaint Accuses Collector of Treating Refusal to Pay as Dispute

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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.

One of the biggest problems collectors face these days when having conversations with consumers is knowing when the consumer is disputing the debt. Consumers have been known to dispute a debt and then retract the dispute in an attempt to catch the collector not updating the account to reflect the debt is no longer being disputed, and consumers have been known to use vague or ambiguous language to make it seem like they are not disputing a debt, when in fact they then accuse the collector of not marking the account as disputed. To err on the side of caution, many collectors treat questionable situations as disputes, thinking it’s safer to do that than to miss a dispute.

A consumer has filed a lawsuit against a collector, accusing it of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the collector allegedly treated a refusal to pay as a dispute.

A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Central District of California can be accessed using case number 22-cv-06084.

The plaintiff took out an auto loan and the defendant was hired to collect the debt from the plaintiff, according to the complaint. The plaintiff sent the defendant a letter, “stating that he refused to pay the debt that Defendant was trying to collect from him.”

Five days later, the defendant replied by mail “attempting to collect the debt, telling plaintiff that he had requested ‘verification’, telling Plaintiff that he had disputed the debt, and promising to report to the credit bureaus that Plaintiff’s account was disputed.”

The plaintiff filed suit, accusing the defendant of violating Section 1692c of the FDCPA by communicating with a consumer after the consumer notifies the collector in writing that he or she refuses to pay the debt, Section 1692e of the FDCPA by telling the plaintiff that he had disputed the debt and requested verification, and Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA by threatening to communicate to the credit bureaus that the plaintiff had disputed the debt.

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