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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.
This is one of those complaints that I chose because I’m not a lawyer and I’m really curious what happens in these kinds of situations. I’m not making light of the fact that a class-action lawsuit has been filed against a collector for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it sent a — dated — Model Validation Notice, but allegedly did not provide the statutory 30 days for the plaintiff to dispute the debt. But there’s a typo in the complaint that might change things. Or it might not because it’s likely just an oversight. This is what makes it interesting to me.
A copy of the complaint, filed in the District Court for the Central District of California, can be accessed by using case number 23-cv-05789 or by clicking here. A copy of the notice can be accessed by clicking here.
The notice is dated April 13, 2023 and informs the plaintiff that the validation period will end on May 18, 2023. The complaint cites the text from Regulation F that says, “[f]or purposes of determining the end of the validation period, the debt collector may assume that a consumer receives the validation information on any date that is at least five days (excluding legal public holidays identified in 5 U.S.C. 6103(a), Saturdays, and Sundays) after the debt collector provides it.” The complaint then notes that April 13 is the date the defendant attempted to provide the validation information and then claims that “Five days (excluding legal public holidays identified in 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a), Saturdays, and Sundays) after April 13, 2023, is April 4, 2023.” Then, it notes that “Thirty (30) days after April 4, 2023, is May 20, 2023.”
Now, I’m no time travel expert, but I’m pretty sure the five days is supposed to take us forward, not backward. And it also looks like there might be some other issues with the math used to calculate the 30-day validation window. The letter claims that the plaintiff should have had until May 20, not May 18 to dispute all or part of the debt or request information about the original creditor. Does the miscalculation render this argument null and void? Is it viewed as just an oversight? If this mistake were made in a collection letter (or notice), the collector might be in some trouble.
The complaint seeks to include everyone who received a letter (their word, not mine, because I know this is a notice, not a letter) from the defendant where the validation period was “unlawfully shortened.”