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FMS Collection Letter Confusing Statement of Balance FDCPA Class Action

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) tries to protect consumers from abusive or unfair debt collection practices. It provides specifics of what debt collectors need to include in the initial contact letter or within five days of one. The complaint for this class action alleges FMS, Inc. has violated this law with a debt collection letter sent to consumers with confusing debt amounts.

The class for this action is

  • All individuals with addresses in New York
  • To whom FMS sent an initial collection letter trying to collect a consumer debt
  • Where the letter contained deceptive information about the amount owed,
  • And where the letter was sent between March 22, 2020 and April 11, 2021.

Plaintiff Abraham Lamm allegedly incurred a consumer debt to Synchrony Bank. The funds were used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. At some point, FMS was assigned to collect the alleged debt.

On or around April 2, 2020, FMS sent Lamm an initial contact letter about the debt.

One of the things that must be stated in such a letter, or within five days thereafter, is the amount of the debt. All important facts in such a letter must be stated clearly, without ambiguity or contradiction.

The complaint quotes an earlier court case to allege that a debt collector violates the FDCPA: Even if the debt collector uses language pulled straight from the text of the law, “the collector nevertheless violates the Act if it conveys that information in a confusing or contradictory fashion so as to cloud the required message with uncertainty.” It also violates the FDCPA if it adds language or statements that overshadow or contradict important information or information about consumer debtors’ rights.

At issue is the statement about the amount of the debt. For the Balance Due, the letter listed $3,434.05; for the Charge-Off Balance, it listed $3,434.06. It included $0 for interest or fees accrued since charge-off. The final item was for Total Payments Since Charge-Off, which was listed as $0.01. In other words, it says that the balance due has been reduced by a payment of one cent. The complaint alleges, “The letter is deceptive because [Lamm] did not make a $0.01 payment [after] the charge-off.”

According to the law, the complaint claims, a “collection letter must clearly display the balance owed and … the deceptively listed payments on this letter make[] it impossible for a consumer to know how much is owed and if the debt will be considered paid if the lower payment amount is made.” This is “materially misleading,” the complaint says, because “it is a knowingly false statement.” In addition to this, the complaint claims that because of the false statement, Lamm could not know if the letter itself was fraudulent.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

FMS Collection Letter Confusing Statement of Balance FDCPA Complaint

March 22, 2021

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) tries to protect consumers from abusive or unfair debt collection practices. It provides specifics of what debt collectors need to include in the initial contact letter or within five days of one. The complaint for this class action alleges FMS, Inc. has violated this law with a debt collection letter sent to consumers with confusing debt amounts.

FMS Collection Letter Confusing Statement of Balance FDCPA Complaint

Case Event History

FMS Collection Letter Confusing Statement of Balance FDCPA Complaint

March 22, 2021

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) tries to protect consumers from abusive or unfair debt collection practices. It provides specifics of what debt collectors need to include in the initial contact letter or within five days of one. The complaint for this class action alleges FMS, Inc. has violated this law with a debt collection letter sent to consumers with confusing debt amounts.

FMS Collection Letter Confusing Statement of Balance FDCPA Complaint
Tags: Amount of Debt, FDCPA, Misleading or Confusing Debt Collection Letter, Unlawful Debt Collection