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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.
The statute of limitations. There have been plenty of collectors that have been sued over the years for not informing consumers that the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit to attempt to collect on a debt has passed. But this complaint here might be one of the first I have seen where the plaintiff is accusing the collector of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in a class action because a letter it sent informed the plaintiff that the statute of limitations had expired on a debt and he would not be sued for it yet, when in fact the statute of limitations had not yet expired
A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Western District of California, can be accessed using case number 23-cv-05784 or by clicking here. A copy of the letter in question can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a letter from the defendant, offering to settle the debt for less than the full balance owed, or to make monthly payments on the debt until it was paid off. At the bottom of the front page was a statement: The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it. The discount offer expired on April 7, 2023. The back page of the letter indicated the charge-off date on the credit card debt was August 2020. The complaint alleges that the statute of limitations in California is four years, so when the letter was sent, the statute of limitations had not expired and the statement in the letter was false or misleading, in violation of the FDCPA.
Furthermore, had the plaintiff accepted one of the settlement offers, the statute of limitations would have been extended even further.
Because the letter does not clearly explain why the debt is time-barred, the defendant’s “willful” and “negligent” violation of the FDCPA led the plaintiff to experience “increased heart rate, difficulty with sleep, anxiety, and stress,” according to the complaint.
The complaint accuses the defendant of violating Sections 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA and seeks to include anyone who received a letter from the defendant stating that the defendant would not sue the consumer for the debt because the statute of limitations had expired, even though the statute of limitations had not yet expired.