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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 collector is facing a class-action Fair Debt Collection Practices Act suit for requiring individuals submitting disputes via the company’s website to consent to be communicated with via email and via voice or text messages using an automatic telephone dialing system.
A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Central District of California, is available using case number 23-cv-03954 or by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection notice from the defendant, which provided instructions about how the individual could dispute the debt or seek validation. One of the options was via the defendant’s website. On the website, the plaintiff could fill out an online form and submit the dispute electronically, or could download the form, print it out, and mail it to the defendant. Having “limited” access to resources needed to print out and mail a letter, the plaintiff opted to fill out the online form. At the bottom of the form was the following disclosure:
By checking this “Agree” box you authorize AmSher to contact you in connection with the resolution or collection of your account(s) using the information you have provided. By providing a valid email address, you expressly authorize AmSher to communicate with you via electronic mail at the email address supplied. By providing your phone number, you expressly authorize us to contact you at this same number via pre-recorded or artificial voices messages, text or electronic messages and calls made by an automatic telephone dialing system. You also attest that both the email address and the phone number(s) supplied belong to you personally and cannot be accessed or viewed by unauthorized parties.
The statement allegedly overshadowed the validation notice, according to the complaint, because it gave the defendant “carte blanche” to contact the plaintiff “anytime, in any manner, for any reason” within the 30-day period. Clicking the “Agree” button, the complaint alleges, forced the plaintiff to waive his rights to the protections under the FDCPA.
The complaint alleges the defendant violated Sections 1692, 1692e, 1692f, and 1692g of the FDCPA, as well as provisions of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The suit seeks to include anyone who received letters from the defendant, used the defendant’s website to submit a dispute, and clicked the “Agree” box to submit the dispute.