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  4.  — Was LVNV Funding, LLC Sued for Allegedly Committing Unlawful Debt Collection in Violation of the FDCPA?

Was LVNV Funding, LLC 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 Eastern District of Wisconsin, a federal class action lawsuit was filed against LVNV Funding, LLC (“LVNV Funding”) – 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. 2:18-cv-00742.

The plaintiff alleged that LVNV Funding sent him a debt collection letter that was misleading and deceptive, and violative of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  A company named TrueAccord allegedly mailed the debt collection letter on LVNV’s behalf.  The plaintiff alleged that the letter stated that, “[T]here may be more important information continued on a second page,” however there was no second page included in the communication, and the letter also did not state that the plaintiff had the right to dispute the alleged debt.

The letter allegedly stated that the plaintiff could take some time to review his options; told him to make a full payment on the alleged debt; and told him to set up a payment plan, but again, it did not disclose to him that he could dispute the alleged debt.  It also allegedly did not give him the required validation notice telling him how he could submit a proper dispute to LVNV Funding in regard to the alleged debt.

The plaintiff alleged that the letter falsely implied that fees could possibly be added by LVNV to his account, and that LVNV Funding would add those charges if he did not pay the account in full.  Plaintiff alleged that LVNV Funding was not actually authorized to add additional charges to his account.  The plaintiff alleged that for the aforementioned reasons, LVNV Funding violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law that regulates the actions of debt collectors.

Another federal lawsuit was filed against LVNV Funding in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:09-cv-01047-MSK-MJW.

In this case, the plaintiff allegedly incurred a debt that was transferred to LVNV Funding for collection purposes. The plaintiff alleged that he disputed the debt because it had already been paid and that he would not pay this new account. The plaintiff also alleged that he sent the defendant a letter in order to dispute the debt and that the letter was received and signed for by an agent of the company. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant then sent the account information to three different credit reporting agencies and on all of the reports, the defendant provided the balance of the account but did not indicate that the account was disputed. The plaintiff alleged that the actions of the defendant violated the FDCPA because they constituted false representations and unfair means to collect a debt and were meant to harass or abuse the plaintiff into paying off the debt.

In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, another federal lawsuit was filed against LVNV Funding for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:14-cv-1260.

The plaintiff alleged that he disputed a credit card debt that was assigned to the defendant for collection and that the defendant then filed suit against him in the Denver County Court. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant obtained a judgment and served a writ of garnishment to the plaintiff’s bank in order for them to garnish the funds in his account. The plaintiff alleged that after the hold was placed on his account, the plaintiff contacted the defendant to inquire about how he could remove the hold. The defendant allegedly replied that the plaintiff would have to pay the full balance of the account to the defendant, or that the plaintiff could challenge the garnishment in court, but that the process could take months to finalize.

The plaintiff alleged that according to a Colorado statute, if an individual’s account is being garnished, they have the right to keep a certain amount of those funds as exempt from garnishment. The plaintiff alleged that the garnishee bank also has to send the individual a notice that provides them with instructions for filing for the exemption. The plaintiff alleged that he was never sent such a notice and that his rights under the statute were never communicated to him. The plaintiff also alleged that because the defendant did not determine whether or not the plaintiff was eligible for an exemption, the defendant’s communication with him was made with the intention of manipulating him into giving up his money.

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that he contacted the defendant to ask about the debt to which the defendant informed the plaintiff that the judgment amount was $1,561.35. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant then reported the debt to a number of credit reporting agencies but that they reported the balance as $1,635. Thus, the plaintiff alleged that either one or both of the debt amounts that the defendant provided was false. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant informed him that they did not know the interest rate for the account and that this statement was false and misleading. The plaintiff alleged that in violation of the FDCPA the defendant used false or misleading representations to collect a debt by providing him with false information regarding the bank hold; falsely representing the judgment amount; reporting a false amount to the credit reporting agencies; and falsely claiming to be unaware of the interest rate of the debt. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant used unfair or unconscionable means during the collection process, which is another violation of the FDCPA.

LVNV Funding was also sued in the United States District Court for the Central District of California for alleged violations of the FDCPA, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and California state law. The docket number for this case is Case No. 5:18-cv-01866-JGB-KK.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant placed numerous harassing calls to her cell phone in order to collect an alleged credit card debt from Credit One Bank. The plaintiff alleged that these calls either came from an automatic dialing system or were pre-recorded because she often heard a recording before she was connected to a live agent. The plaintiff then alleged that in August of 2016, she asked the defendant to stop calling her phone but that the defendant did not comply with this request and continued to call her through September of 2017. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA by engaging in conduct that was meant to harass or abuse her and by continuing to place calls to her phone after she requested for them to stop.

In the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in the Jacksonville Division, another federal lawsuit was filed against LVNV Funding for alleged violations of the FDCPA and Florida state law. The docket number for this case is Case No. 3:14-cv-01240-HES-MCR.

The plaintiff in this case alleged that he had filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy code in order to gain protection from harassing debt collectors and to obtain a new financial beginning. The plaintiff alleged that after he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the defendant filed a proof of claim for a debt that the plaintiff owed to a third-party creditor. The plaintiff claimed that the proof of claim indicated that the debt was charged off in July of 1999 and that due to the five-year statute of limitations provided by Florida state law, the debt was unenforceable at the time that the petition was filed. The plaintiff alleged that by attempting to collect a stale and unenforceable debt, the defendant violated the FDCPA by misrepresenting the legal status of a debt and using unfair means to collect a debt. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant did not comply by the requirements of the FDCPA because they did not provide the plaintiff with the “mini-Miranda” warning or sufficient information in their collection notice.

Another federal lawsuit was filed against LVNV Funding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in the Eastern Division for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:14-cv-10129.

In this case, the plaintiff allegedly incurred a credit card debt that entered into default and was purchased by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that LVNV reported the account to a credit reporting agency and included information like the account number, the original creditor, and the status. The plaintiff also alleged that the original amount that the defendant communicated was $1,561 but that in subsequent months, the defendant reported a higher amount of debt for each month that passed. The plaintiff alleged that after the defendant tried to collect the debt from him, he sought aid from attorneys at a legal clinic who sent a letter to the defendant informing them that the plaintiff was disputing the debt. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant received the letter and afterwards, reported an alleged debt of $1,678, which was $117 higher than the original amount of debt. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant did not have the right to collect the additional amount of money that was added on to the alleged debt. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant used false or misleading representations and unfair or unconscionable means during the collection process by attempting to collect an amount that was not permitted by the original agreement, reporting false credit information, and failing to communicate the dispute of the debt to a credit reporting agency. The plaintiff alleged that the actions of the defendant were in violation of the FDCPA.

In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in the Eastern Division, another federal lawsuit was filed against LVNV Funding. The defendant was again sued for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:14-cv-00920.

The plaintiff alleged that she incurred a debt for a Bank of America credit card that was eventually purchased by the defendant after it was in default. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant retained the services of a law office in order to collect the debt from the plaintiff. The plaintiff then alleged that the defendant’s attorney filed a complaint against her and after she found out, she sought out help from a legal clinic. The plaintiff also alleged that her attorney then entered an appearance in the case which promptly informed the defendant and its attorney that the plaintiff was being represented by counsel.

The plaintiff then alleged that the defendant bypassed communication with her lawyers and directly sent her a debt collection letter. The plaintiff alleged that after receiving the letter, she felt alarmed because she thought that she would have to go to court or personally sort out the situation with the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that because the defendant should have known that the plaintiff was being represented by counsel, the fact that the defendant directly communicated with her regarding the debt constituted 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 FDCPA aims to encourage fair debt collection, to eliminate unlawful debt collection practices, and to protect consumers from abusive 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.

There are many debt collection actions that 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 actions. Furthermore, debt collectors are restricted as to when they are 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 the individual has asked them to stop their calls, the debt collector must cease communications to both their personal phone and their workplace. A debt collector also cannot call a consumer during times that are inconvenient for the consumer. 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.