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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 collection operation is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly violating Regulation F and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for what it didn’t include in a Model Validation Notice, which may serve as a reminder to everyone that if you say something in a notice or letter, you’re likely going to be held to it.
A copy of the complaint, which was originally filed in New Jersey state court and subsequently removed to the District Court for the District of New Jersey by the defendant, can be accessed using case number 23-cv-14255 or by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a Model Validation Notice from the defendant for an unpaid debt owed to a cable TV provider. The notice included an itemization table, which indicated how much the plaintiff owed as of the itemization date. The table also included a line item, indicating the plaintiff was being charged $490 in fees. The plaintiff believed this amount to be in relation to equipment that was not returned to the cable provider. Had that equipment been returned, the plaintiff would have received a credit for that fee.
The lawsuit accuses the defendant of not including that “material” information in the notice and withholding it from the plaintiff. The plaintiff was confused about the true amount of the debt and the nature of the obligation.
Underneath the itemization table was a notice that said, “SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION,” which was included in the Model Validation Notice published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this case, however, the reverse side of the notice was blank, except for one spot, where the name of the defendant was printed. Since there was no “important information” on the back of the notice, the plaintiff was left to wonder what information the defendant failed to include, according to the complaint.
The complaint accuses the collector of violating Sections 1692e, 1692e(2)(A), 1692f, and 1692g of the FDCPA, as well as state law in New Jersey. The complaint seeks to include anyone who received a similar notice from the defendant attempting to collect on behalf of this particular creditor.