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  4.  — Was Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley, Inc. Sued for Allegedly Making Harassing Collection Calls in Violation of the FDCPA?

Was Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley, Inc. Sued for Allegedly Making Harassing Collection Calls in Violation of the FDCPA?

by | Jul 14, 2021 | Firm News |

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

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. 1:17-cv-06287.

The Plaintiff in the case alleged that he had received numerous calls from different Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley, Inc. representatives that were unwanted, in September of 2016, and that Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley, Inc. was trying to collect on an Optimum cable related debt.

The Plaintiff alleged that the phone number belonged to Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley, Inc.  He alleged that he spoke to a representative of Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley on September 3, 2016 and asked the debt collection company to stop calling him, but that it did not stop calling him, and instead it kept calling him.

The Plaintiff alleged that because Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley would not stop calling him, he had to resort to trying to stop the calls from Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley by getting a call blocking application for his cell phone in order to try to block the calls from Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley.

The Plaintiff alleged in the lawsuit that the Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley intentionally threatened to garnish his wages if he did not pay on the alleged debt, and that Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley would call and harass him with phone calls while he was doing his duties at work.

He also alleged that Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley never sent him anything in writing informing him of his rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is a law that regulates the actions of debt collectors.

Within the first 7 days after any initial communication method with a consumer – be it a call or a voicemail left for them, a text message, an email, and so on – and within a possible extra 7 days after that, a debt collector has to send notice in writing to consumers that lets them know their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, a class action lawsuit was filed against Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:15-cv-06748-ENV-VMS.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant started to contact him to collect an alleged debt that he owed. The plaintiff then alleged that in March of 2015, he contacted a representative of the defendant on the phone in order to dispute the debt. However, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant would not accept his dispute without a valid reason and that the defendant continually asked for the plaintiff to provide a reason for the dispute. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s failure to accept the dispute was a violation of the FDCPA, which provides the plaintiff with thirty-day validation rights. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s first communication with him was in a letter from February 13, 2015 which outlined the notice of the plaintiff’s right to dispute the debt and seek verification. The plaintiff alleged that when he contacted the defendant to dispute the debt, he was still within the thirty-day period as provided by the defendant’s initial letter.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant misrepresented the validation rights that he was afforded under the FDCPA by failing to accept his dispute and that the defendant did not provide the proper notation of the plaintiff’s dispute. According to the FDCPA, a consumer has the right to orally dispute a debt and does not need to provide a reason in order to dispute a debt. The plaintiff also alleged that the Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley never had the intention to move forward with the validation rights that it provided to the plaintiff in the initial letter.

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that on April 4, 2015, the defendant sent him another letter which expressed disappointment in the plaintiff’s failure to respond to their previous communications. The plaintiff alleged that the statements provided in this letter were false because he did respond to the defendant’s prior letters. The plaintiff also alleged that he then acquired his credit report from the credit bureaus and found out that when the defendant reported the debt to the credit bureaus, it did not report the disputed debt as disputed, which is a violation of the FDCPA.

Another class action lawsuit was filed against Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The defendant was sued for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 7:16-cv-05170-KMK-JCM.

In this case, the plaintiff alleged that her alleged debt was incurred from medical treatment that she received in February of 2013 when she was still 16 years old. The plaintiff alleged that she had believed that her treatment was paid for by her insurance or her parents. The plaintiff then alleged that in May of 2016, the defendant began to take action to collect the debt from the plaintiff and sent her a dunning letter. The plaintiff alleged that receiving the defendant’s letter was the first time she was made aware of the debt and that she sent a letter back to the defendant to dispute the debt and to inform them that she was unaware of it.

The plaintiff then alleged that the defendant sent her a validation letter as well as two hospital bills in order to prove that she owed the debt and to collect the money from her. However, the plaintiff alleged that because the bills were incurred when she was a minor, they were addressed to her father. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant continued its illegitimate pursuit of this debt and that the defendant continued to pursue debts that were voided by previous minors.

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant attempted to collect a $370.12 debt from her in the initial letter that they sent to her. The plaintiff then alleged that in the validation letter, the defendant provided two separate bills as proof of the debt. The plaintiff alleged that one of the bills was dated from 2013 while the other was dated from 2015 but both contained the same balance of $370.12 for a total of $740.24. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant sent her a verification letter that included false or incorrect bills and that they did not conduct an adequate amount of research before attempting to collect the debt. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant provided two separate bills so that the plaintiff would be confused into paying the balance, given the fact that at least one of the bills appeared to be valid and reflected the correct amount owed.

The plaintiff alleged that Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley violated the FDCPA due to their use of false or misleading representations during the collection process; their failure to abide by the guidelines in regard to the validation of debts, as well as their use of unfair practices.

In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, another federal lawsuit was filed against Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley for alleged violations of the FDCPA and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:17-cv-00934-WFK-LB.

The plaintiff in this case alleged that from June of 2016 to August of 2016, Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley placed numerous calls to her cell phone from a number confirmed to belong to the company and that they would often contact her multiple times in the same day. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was trying to reach a third-party individual that she did not know. The plaintiff also alleged that the phone calls from the defendant were made using an automated dialing system or a pre-recorded voice and that the defendant also left her automated voice messages.

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that when the phone calls first began, she had spoken to the defendant, telling them that they had the wrong number and asking for them to cease their calls to her. However, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant did not stop the calls and instead, continued to call her phone many times a day in order to reach the unknown individual. The plaintiff also alleged that she had to download a blocking application on her phone in order to block the defendant’s calls.

The plaintiff alleged that by continuing their calls after knowing that they were calling the wrong individual and after they were asked to stop, the defendant acted in violation of the FDCPA because they caused the plaintiff’s phone to ring repeatedly and engaged in conduct that had the natural consequence of harassment or abuse.

Another federal lawsuit was filed against Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:16-cv-02631-JG.

The plaintiff alleged that from September or October of 2015 until October of 2016, the defendant called his phone many times a week in order to collect a Capital One credit card related debt and a bank related debt. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant called him from many phone numbers which have all been confirmed to belong to Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that when the calls first began in October of 2015, he spoke to the defendant and informed them that he did not have the money to make payments for his debt. The plaintiff also alleged that he asked for the defendant to stop calling him and that the defendant acknowledged his request. However, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant did not abide by the request and continued to call him.

The plaintiff alleged that through 2016, he informed the defendant many times that he could not afford to make payments and for the defendant to cease the calls. The plaintiff also alleged that in these calls, the defendant threatened to take action that they did not intend to do or have the legal ability to take by telling the plaintiff that they would garnish his wages and pursue legal action against him in order to collect the unpaid debts. The plaintiff alleged that in order to stop the defendant’s calls, he had to download a call blocking application on his phone.

The plaintiff alleged that the actions of Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley violated the FDCPA because the defendant engaged in behavior that resulted in harassment; used false or misleading means in the collection process by threatening action that could not be taken or was not intended to be taken; and by using unfair means to collect a debt.

In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, another federal lawsuit was filed against Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No.1:10-cv-00760-WMS-JJM.

In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant placed continuous calls to the plaintiff’s phone in order to demand payment for an alleged debt. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant called her every day on her home phone from a number that is assigned to Collection Bureau of Hudson Valley. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s actions were in violation of the FDCPA because their conduct, such as calling the plaintiff’s phone repeatedly, resulted in the abuse and harassment of the plaintiff.

 

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.

During the debt collection process, there are a number of actions that a debt collector cannot engage in which are prohibited by the FDCPA. 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 have indicated are inconvenient for them. Moreover, in most states, and unless a debt collector is a debt collection law firm, a debt collector cannot 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 $1,000.00, as well as actual damages including, but not limited to harm or loss that resulted from a debt collector’s actions.