A debt collector in California is being accused of filing “thousands” of collection lawsuits against individuals and engaging in a “large-scale fraud” by not properly serving consumers with summonses and complaints while it faces a lawsuit filed by a non-profit legal organization for allegedly filing false proofs of service.
A copy of the article is available by clicking here.
Of the nearly 2,800 lawsuits that the agency in question filed across California between 2019 and 2023, the site that published the article reviews “dozens of proofs of service” and claimed that “not a single defendant was delivered a summons directly.” Instead, summonses were left with other people at the residence listed on the complaint, in many cases referred to as John or Jane Doe in the proof of service.
The report goes on to detail some of the default judgments that were awarded and said that “in each of the four cases mentioned above, the courts relied solely on the company’s written testimony to award default judgment” to the collector.
In one county, the site reviewed 93 proofs of service and “all of them claimed the process server left documents with someone other than the person being sued.” About 50% of collection lawsuits filed by other companies involved serving someone other than the person being sued, according to the article.
Substitute service is not against the law, and the article quotes a board member of the National Association of Professional Process Servers who notes that plenty of people lie about not being served.
Last year, Bay Area Legal Aid sued the collector and the companies it used to serve summonses, accusing them of allegedly serving four different consumers — including two in different locations 30 miles apart at the same time — in the same hour, and in another instance, allegedly driving 49 miles in five minutes to serve a consumer, according to the complaint.