Yes. In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, a federal lawsuit was filed against Metro Collection Service, Inc. (“Metro Collection Service”) – 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. 1:10-cv-00826-ZLW-MEH.
The plaintiffs allegedly were married to each other at the time of the lawsuit. The plaintiffs both alleged that Metro Collection Service contacted the plaintiffs in an attempt to collect an alleged outstanding debt. The plaintiffs both alleged that in particular, Metro Collection Service obtained a Default Judgment against one of the plaintiffs – the wife – and that the Default Judgment was entered based upon the sworn affidavit from Metro Collection Service’s process server that the complaint had been served at a specific address.
However, the plaintiffs both alleged that that particular plaintiff, the wife, did not reside at that address when Metro Collection Service alleged that she was served, and that therefore she was not served with the complaint as Metro Collection Service alleged, and that the plaintiffs both had had no knowledge of the complaint for the alleged debt and/or the Default Judgment.
The plaintiffs both alleged that Metro Collection Service served the wife’s employer with a Notice of Garnishment, and that the employer thereafter informed the wife of said garnishment. The plaintiffs both alleged that when that happened the other plaintiff – the husband – immediately contacted Metro Collection Service, and informed Metro Collection Service that his spouse had never been served; that the garnishment was improper, and that the garnishment was embarrassing and humiliating for his wife. The plaintiffs both alleged that the husband then requested that any such garnishment activity cease immediately.
The plaintiffs both alleged that despite having been put on notice that one of the plaintiffs was not properly served and that the garnishment was invalid, Metro Collection Service made no investigation into the claim that the wife had never been served with the underlying complaint, and instead proceeded to contact her employer on an almost daily basis to ensure that the garnishment order was complied with, causing the wife great distress in her workplace and causing her to fear for her job security.
The plaintiffs both alleged that the wife’s employer complied with the order of garnishment, and that subsequently, the husband contacted Metro Collection Service again in an attempt to release the invalid garnishment, but that Metro Collection Service again refused to investigate into his assertions and affected an additional wage garnishment.
The plaintiffs alleged that the husband then tried yet again to get Metro Collection Service to release the invalid garnishment, by contacting Metro Collection Service and again explaining to it the things that he had already told it, but that the result was the same, and that a third garnishment was subsequently effected. The plaintiffs both alleged that it was not until counsel for the plaintiffs intervened that the invalid garnishments ceased.
The plaintiffs both alleged that they filed a motion to vacate the Default Judgment based upon improper service, and that said motion was granted.
The plaintiffs also alleged that the husband requested during each of his telephone conversations with Metro Collection Service that Metro Collection Service send information regarding the alleged debt to his current place of residence, but that despite Metro Collection Service’s repeated promises to send details regarding the alleged debt, no such information was ever sent to the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs alleged that Metro Collection Service invaded the wife’s right to privacy; violated the FDCPA by using unfair or unconscionable means against the wife in connection with an attempt to collect a debt; did not provide requisite notices in violation of the FDCPA; and used false representations and deceptive practices in connection with an attempt(s) to collect the alleged debt from Plaintiffs when Metro Collection Service promised to send them information about the alleged debt to husband’s current address and failed to do so.
In the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in the Little Rock Division, another federal lawsuit was filed against Metro Collection Service and a rental company. Metro Collection Service was sued for alleged violations of the FDCPA, and both defendants were also sued for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Arkansas state law. The docket number for this case is Case No. 4:13-cv-00388-JLH.
The plaintiff in this case alleged that in September 2009, she had signed a lease with the rental company for a rental apartment. The plaintiff alleged that she abided by the terms of the lease over the course of the rental and that she then left the property in July 2012 after giving proper notice to the defendant. She also alleged that she asked the rental company to do a walk-through with her but that the defendant never contacted her with a date and eventually conducted it without her. The plaintiff alleged that from August 2012 to October 2012, she made multiple phone calls to the rental company in order to ask them for her security deposit back and to question as to why she received a ten-day notice. She also alleged that she filed multiple complaints with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office against the defendant and disputed owing them a debt.
The plaintiff alleged that the rental company never responded to requests from the Attorney General’s Office, never sent the plaintiff her security deposit, and did not have further communications with the plaintiff regarding this issue. The plaintiff then alleged that the company contracted a collection agency, Metro Collection Service, who was not licensed in Arkansas to collect the disputed debt from the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that in January 2013, Metro Collection Service sent her an initial collection letter to inform her of the debt. She alleged that she was then sent another letter in February 2013 which stated that if she did not pay her debt in the next thirty days, the defendant would negatively report the debt on her credit report and that the information would remain on her report for seven years. The plaintiff alleged that Metro Collection Service eventually did report the debt on her credit report, thus reporting false information, and that this caused her financial and emotional distress.
The plaintiff alleged that the actions of Metro Collection Service were in violation of the FDCPA. The plaintiff alleged that Metro Collection Service used unfair or unconscionable means during the collection process because they tried to collect a debt that was not owed and they posed as a business that was licensed in Arkansas when they did not have the legal right to conduct business in the state. Furthermore, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant used false or misleading representations to collect a debt when they allegedly told the plaintiff that collection accounts show on credit reports for seven years, because they do not know how credit reporting agencies will act, and that by communicating that phrase, they falsely represented the situation in regard to the debt to unsophisticated customers.
Metro Collection Service and its agents were also sued in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado for alleged violations of the FDCPA and Colorado state law. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:10-cv-02828-WJM-BNB.
In this case, the plaintiff alleged that she had incurred a debt that was assigned to Metro Collection Service for collection. The plaintiff alleged that the company’s agents called her on the phone in order to collect the debt but that they never provided her with the chance to make a payment. She alleged that in their communications, the defendants were intimidating and abusive and that they would not give the plaintiff an opportunity to speak. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendants threatened to ruin her credit rating and file a lawsuit against her if she did not pay off the debt. Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants did not tell her that the calls were from a debt collector and that the information they collected would be for debt collection purposes. The plaintiff also alleged that she was not informed of her state and federal rights regarding the debt.
The plaintiff alleged that Metro Collection Service violated the FDCPA because they used false or misleading representations in the collection process by threatening to take action that Metro Collection Service could not or did not intend to do. The plaintiff also alleged that Metro Collection Service made phone calls with the intention of harassing her and that they talked to her using profane language, and that they did not provide her with a number of the notices that are required by the FDCPA.
In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, another federal lawsuit was filed against Metro Collection Service for alleged violations of the FDCPA. The docket number for this case is Case No. 1:13-cv-02234-CMA-CBS.
The plaintiff in this case alleged that Metro Collection Service began to contact her over an alleged debt that was owed for an apartment lease that she had occupied. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant found out where she worked and placed a call to her work phone. She alleged that she informed the defendant that she could not take their calls at work and ended the call. The plaintiff alleged that despite the fact that she told the defendant to stop calling, they called her work phone again moments later, harassing her and demanding that she pay back the debt. The plaintiff also alleged that she informed the defendant that she disputed the debt and had no intention of paying it off.
The plaintiff then alleged that Metro Collection Service sent a letter to her house which contained a threat that stated that if she did not contact their office, they would begin to contact people she knew to obtain information about her. The plaintiff also alleged that this was the only form of written communication that she received from the defendant and that it did not satisfy the requirements as laid out by the FDCPA. Furthermore, she alleged that the defendant’s conduct violated the FDCPA because they harassed her by continuing to call her after she asked them to stop, they used false or misleading representations during the collection process, and they used unconscionable means to collect a debt that they did not have the legal right to collect.
Another federal lawsuit was filed against Metro Collection Service 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. 1:13-cv-02496-WYD-MJW.
The plaintiff allegedly incurred an apartment related debt that was transferred to Metro Collection Service for collection purposes. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had contacted her in order to collect the debt. Additionally, she alleged that they contacted her boyfriend, who they believed was her landlord, to tell him that she owed a debt and that they also contacted her neighbors to ask them to stick notes to her front door and her car. Furthermore, the plaintiff allegedly told the defendant multiple times to stop calling her at her workplace, but they ignored these requests and continued to call her work phone. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the FDCPA by calling her at a place and time that they knew would be inconvenient for her, by communicating her debt to unrelated third-party individuals, and by engaging in conduct with the intention of harassing or abusing 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 the FDCPA is to encourage fair debt collection, to stop unlawful debt collection practices, and to provide legal protection for consumers against debt collectors. The FDCPA covers 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 many actions that a debt collector cannot take while collecting 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 requested for calls to be stopped, the debt collector must cease their calls to both their personal phone and their workplace. A debt collector also does not have the right to call a consumer at inconvenient times. 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.