EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of a series that is sponsored by WebRecon. WebRecon identifies serial plaintiffs lurking in your database BEFORE you contact them and expose yourself to a likely lawsuit. Protect your company from as many as one in three new consumer lawsuits by scrubbing your consumers through WebRecon first. Want to learn more? Call (855) WEB-RECON or email [email protected] today! Thanks to WebRecon for sponsoring this series.
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 patsy. A scapegoat. A sap. A dupe. A class action lawsuit is accusing a bank of using a law firm as a front to collect on its own debts, allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by sending a letter to the plaintiff that misrepresented the identity of whom was actually attempting to collect on the debt.
A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, can be accessed by using case number 23-cv-01191 or by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter — which was allegedly drafted, designed, and created by the bank that was owed the debt — on the letterhead of a law firm used by the bank. The law firm was paid a flat fee by the bank for the use of its letterhead and had no involvement in the process, according to the complaint. The demand letter threatened the plaintiff with legal action if a payment on the debt was not made within 30 days, and threatened to charge the plaintiff with legal fees if legal action was taken, among other claims.
Because it controlled the process, did not allow the letter to be altered, and because payments and inquiries on the debts were to be made to the bank, the complaint accuses the institution of meeting the definition of a debt collector under the FDCPA.
The complaint accuses the bank of violating Section 1692e of the FDCPA because it misrepresented the true identity of the collector, Section 1692g — and Regulation F — because the letter failed to include validation information, and 1692j. The complaint accuses the law firm of violating Section 1692e(3) of the FDCPA by falsely representing to the plaintiffs that it was meaningfully involved in collecting on the debt.