Imagine, if you will, for one reason or another, you acquired a bit of debt. Being responsible, you want to pay it off as soon as you get the letter in the mail and are notified.
The only problem is every month you get a letter telling you your creditors have changed. What are you to do? Who are you to send payments to and how are you to resolve this?
As it turns out, instead of sending a check in the mail, often the best solution is to first seek legal counsel. Lein Law Offices in Hayward, WI continue to be on the frontlines when it comes to protecting individuals from the murky business practices of debt collection.
The above scenario happened here in Hayward, WI – and one many others across the country fight every day. Through the federal district court in the Western District of Wisconsin, Attorney at law, Matthew Lein, of Lein Law Offices with co-counsel filed Ewert v. Northland Group, LLC, using the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to protect a resident of Sawyer County, Wisconsin, and more than 35 others across Wisconsin, in a class action lawsuit. The Sawyer County resident was sent a multiple letters from January of 2017 through April of 2017 from Northland Group, LLC., a collection agency based in Minneapolis, MN but collecting debts in the state of Wisconsin. But what it is not authorized to do is to send misleading information. Over the course several months, the Sawyer County consumer continued to receive letters from Northland. In January of 2017 Northland sent the Sawyer County consumer a letter claiming his creditor was Kohl’s Department Store, Inc. and the original creditor was Capital One, N.A.
A month later the Sawyer County consumer received another letter from Northland, only this time the creditor was listed as Capital One, N.A and the original creditor was CitiCorp. Upon digging deeper Lein Law Offices discovered that CitiCorp was never the creditor of this account.
The identity of a consumer’s current creditor is a vital piece of information, and falsely identifying a creditor is an example of misleading a consumer and causing the consumer to suffer a disadvantage in charting the course of action in response to the collection effort.
Under the “unsophisticated consumer” standard, as outlined by Gammon v. GC Services, 27 F.3d 1254, 1257 (7th Cir. 1994) and Section 1692e of the FDCPA, a debt collector is prohibited from using any false, deceptive or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Making a false statement as to the name of the original creditor is a materially misleading statement, which violates of § 1692e of the FDCPA.
The moral of the story here is to always save the letters sent to you from a debt collection agency and to always do your homework. When the numbers don’t add up, or the names and dates are always changing, you might be the victim of a crime and entitled to restitution.
We all make decisions in life based on information we have available. We all hope that we hold the facts in our hands and are making financial decisions based on sound reasoning. But when you’re given misleading information, there’s no proper course of action save one – legal action.