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  4.  — Was BC Services, Inc. Sued for Allegedly Committing Unlawful Debt Collection in Violation of the FDCPA?

Was BC Services, Inc. Sued for Allegedly Committing Unlawful Debt Collection in Violation of the FDCPA?

by | Jul 14, 2021 | Firm News |

Yes.  In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, a federal lawsuit was filed against BC Services, Inc. (“BC Services”) – which is a debt collector – for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that regulates the actions of debt collectors.

Any debt collector that has allegedly violated a consumer’s rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), can be sued by a consumer for statutory damages of up to $1,000; actual damages including, but not limited to, harm or loss that resulted from a debt collector’s actions; as well as the consumer’s attorney’s fees and costs.

The docket number for the case is Case No. 1:18-cv-03322-STV.

The plaintiff alleged that the plaintiff suffered an accident at work, which required the plaintiff to have to undergo extensive medical treatments, which included multiple surgeries.  The plaintiff alleged that he subsequently hired a lawyer to file for benefits under his employer’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance (“Worker’s Compensation”).

The plaintiff alleged that the costs of the medical services that he received to treat his injuries were fully covered by a worker’s compensation insurance carrier.  The plaintiff alleged that regardless of that, he received a debt collection letter from BC Services, stating that BC Services was trying to collect on a purportedly unpaid medical bill owed to its client.

The plaintiff also alleged that this debt collection letter that he received from BC Services itemized “Interest” as $0.00 in the debt collection letter, and that this debt collection letter confused him because he was aware that all of his medical bills were fully covered.  The Plaintiff alleged that he was concerned by BC Services’ itemization of interest because he did not want BC Services, a debt collector, to accrue interest on a debt that he felt that he did not owe, so he contacted BC Services’ client to inquire about the alleged debt.

The plaintiff alleged that BC Services’ client stated to him that the plaintiff did not owe the subject debt, and that all of the plaintiff’s expenses were covered.  The plaintiff alleged that after this occurred BC Services called him to try to collect on the alleged debt, and that he told BC Services that he did not owe on the alleged debt and would not pay it, and that BC Services persistently held that it would continue to seek payment from the plaintiff, even though he did not owe the alleged debt.

The plaintiff alleged that BC Services used deceptive means to collect and/or attempt to collect the alleged debt, in violation of the FDCPA, by attempting to collect on a debt that was not owed by the plaintiff, and that BC Services also violated the FDCPA by falsely representing in its debt collection letter that it had the ability to add interest to the alleged debt.

Another federal lawsuit was filed against BC Services for alleged violations of the FDCPA and the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The docket number for this case is Case No. 0:15-cv-02545-DSD-FLN.

In this case, the plaintiff alleged that he incurred a debt from an electric services company that was contracted to the defendant for collection purposes. The plaintiff alleged that in April 2007, the electric company disconnected his services because of an overdue balance on his account. The plaintiff then alleged that between June of 2014 and March of 2015, he sent three letters to a credit reporting agency in order to dispute his electric services account because it was being reported by BC Services.

After, the plaintiff alleged that BC Services then sent him a debt collection letter which contained a statement for his electric services account. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the debt collection letter included the line, “Please contact our office to avoid further collection efforts.” The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant reported his old electric account as opened in July of 2013 and last active in July of 2014, even though the plaintiff did not make any payments to the account since his service was disconnected in April 2007. The plaintiff alleged that the actions of BC Services violated the FDCPA because they used misleading means during the debt collection process by deceptively representing the consequences of making a payment and the legal status of the plaintiff’s debt.

In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, another federal lawsuit was filed against BC Services and its agents for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:11-cv-00065-RPM-KMT.

In this case, the plaintiffs alleged that, when trying to collect their debt, the defendants contacted a third-party and informed that party of the debt that the plaintiffs owed without the plaintiffs’ consent. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants reached out to one of their mothers for purposes other than for finding out the location of the plaintiffs. Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants would often make multiple continuous calls to the plaintiffs on the same day, causing their phones to ring over and over again, and that these calls were intended to annoy and harass the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants threatened to garnish the plaintiffs’ wages and to arrest the plaintiffs for failing to pay their debt even though the defendants did not have the intent or the legal right to take these actions.  The plaintiffs then alleged that the defendants wrongly informed the plaintiffs that they could go to prison for the nonpayment of their debt and falsely implied that the plaintiffs had committed a crime in connection with the debt. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated the FDCPA because they disclosed information about the plaintiffs’ debt to a third-party, engaged in conduct that harassed the plaintiffs, and used misleading representations by threatening to take actions against the plaintiffs that they could not legally or did not have the intent to take.

BC Services was also sued for alleged violations of the FDCPA in another federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:14-cv-01392-RPM.

The plaintiff allegedly incurred a debt from defaulted medical bills that he disputed, and the debt was transferred to BC Services for collection purposes. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant first sent him a debt collection letter which contained the amount of the alleged debt that he owed and also the name of the original creditor. The plaintiff alleged that he did not know who the original creditor was, and that he sent a written dispute to BC Services for clarification regarding the debt. The plaintiff alleged that since the debt owed was only $4.21, he believed the letter to be a mistake.

After, the plaintiff alleged that BC Services responded to the dispute letter that the plaintiff had sent and sent him a letter that included billing statements which served as apparent evidence of the disputed debt. The plaintiff alleged that these billing statements were from a separate creditor that was different from, and did not seem to be connected with, the original creditor mentioned in the first letter. The plaintiff also alleged that these statements were confusing and illogical, so he sent another letter to the defendant that asked for more clarification and provided notice of possible FDCPA violations on the defendant’s part. Afterwards, the plaintiff alleged that BC Services responded back with a letter that did not validate the debt but only served to cause more confusion to the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that BC Services was trying to collect an invalid debt, which was in violation of the FDCPA, and that they were also trying to collect an amount that was not authorized by the debt agreement. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA by intentionally harassing him for a trivial amount of money that he did not owe.

Another federal lawsuit was filed against BC Services in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in the Texarkana Division. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 5:18-cv-00015-RWS.

In this case, one of the plaintiffs allegedly incurred a debt that was contracted to BC Services for collection. The plaintiffs alleged that when attempting to collect the debt, the defendant contacted the plaintiff that did not owe the alleged debt and in this conversation, the defendant did not inquire about the other plaintiff’s location but instead, asked the plaintiff on the call to deliver a message to the second plaintiff. The plaintiffs alleged that the plaintiff on the call informed BC Services that the other plaintiff could not be reached on his phone number and asked for the number to be deleted from the account’s information. However, the plaintiffs alleged that BC Services called the number again even after they were requested to remove the number from the account. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA because it communicated with a third-party for purposes other than obtaining location information and informed the third-party about the debt. The plaintiffs also alleged that BC Services engaged in intentional harassment by repeatedly causing the plaintiff’s phone to ring and that it used unfair means to collect a debt, which are both actions that violate the FDCPA.

In another case in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, BC Services was again sued for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:12-cv-00438-REB-KLM.

The plaintiff alleged that she was admitted to a hospital and received a bill for her medical treatment. The plaintiff alleged that she had provided her insurance information to the hospital when she was admitted but that the hospital did not file a timely claim with the plaintiff’s insurance provider. The plaintiff then alleged that around two years after her hospital visit, she received a letter from her insurance provider which contained a statement for her alleged debt of $3,821.18. The plaintiff alleged that she did not owe this debt because her treatment was covered by her insurance and that the debt only existed because the hospital did not file a timely claim. The plaintiff alleged that the debt was then transferred to BC Services for collection and that they sent her written communication in order to try to collect this debt. The plaintiff then alleged that she sent the defendant a letter that disputed the alleged debt, to which the defendant responded with a notice that then claimed that the plaintiff owed an amount of $5,247.73. The plaintiff also alleged that in this second notice, the defendant used language that could be interpreted by the least sophisticated consumer to mean that litigation would occur soon and that complying with the terms of the letter was the last chance to avoid a lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged that despite the defendant’s language, there was no pending lawsuit and the letter was not the last correspondence that was initiated to avoid a lawsuit.

The plaintiff alleged that afterwards she spoke with BC Services on the phone and informed them that she had disputed the debt and would now seek out legal advice. The plaintiff then alleged that the defendant told her that she should not try to get legal help and that she would have to set up a payment plan for her alleged debt. The plaintiff alleged that she informed the defendant that she did not know the amount she could afford to pay each month but despite this, the defendant demanded for the plaintiff to create a payment arrangement.  The plaintiff alleged that after the plaintiff maintained her already stated position that she could not enter into an agreement, the defendant threatened to take legal action against her if she did not call them back before the end of the day.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant then sent her another notice which claimed that she now owed $7,464.80 and again threatened her with legal action. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant served her a lawsuit where they stated that they were entitled to her alleged debt of $3,821.18. The plaintiff alleged that BC Services used false and misleading representations during the collection process, which is a violation of the FDCPA, by misrepresenting the amount of alleged debt that the plaintiff owed and by using misleading language in their correspondence. The plaintiff also alleged that the legal status of her alleged original debt was falsely represented because she was not originally responsible for the $3,821.18. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that in their communications, the defendant threatened to take action that they could not legally take or that they did not intend to take, which is also a violation of the FDCPA.

 

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is a federal statute enacted by the 95th United States Congress. The purpose of this statute is to encourage fair debt collection, to eliminate unlawful debt collection practices, and to provide legal protection for consumers against debt collectors. The types of debt covered by the FDCPA are consumer debts, including but not limited to credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, and mortgages.

The FDCPA prohibits certain behaviors during the debt collection process and pursuant to the statute, there are a number of actions that a debt collector cannot engage in when attempting to collect a debt. For example, when speaking with a consumer, a debt collector cannot threaten them with harm or with actions that they cannot take, lie to them, swear or use foul language, or pretend that they are a government agency or a law enforcement agency, amongst other things. Additionally, there are restrictions as to when a debt collector is allowed to communicate with a consumer. For example, a debt collector cannot call an individual between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. and if they have already told them to stop calling, the debt collector must cease their calls to both their personal phone and their workplace. A debt collector also cannot call a consumer during time periods that they are known to be inconvenient. Furthermore, in most states, and unless a debt collector is a debt collection law firm, a debt collector does not have the right to threaten to sue a consumer; as they do not have the present right to do so. In these cases, the right to sue remains with the original or current creditor.

If a debt collector has violated a consumer’s rights under the FDCPA, the consumer can sue them for damages. The consumer could be entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000, as well as actual damages including, but not limited to harm or loss that resulted from a debt collector’s actions.