This past October, SmithMarco took on a matter at trial against debt collector Creditors Collection Service. We were victorious in proving our client’s case and recovering for her under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Not satisfied with the result, the collector asked the court to overturn the jury’s verdict. The court refused, locking up this victory for SmithMarco and our client.
CCS took on a medical collection for this person and aggressively pursued collections by filing a lawsuit and seeking a judgment. Our client, like so many, found out about the judgment after it happened, and contacted the collector to have her very first conversation with them after the fact. It was not a large debt and our client was more than happy to pay it. However, she never received any notice about her rights to seek validation of the debt. CCS attempted to argue that they provided her the letter, but ultimately it was shown that the letter was mailed to the wrong address. When CCS attempted to put witnesses on the stand to testify that they mailed her the letter, the court was not persuaded at all, and in fact considered the witnesses as not very credible. The court stated:
“[Plaintiff] called [the witness’s] precise recollection of that day, two years prior to trial, into question. [Plaintiff] showed that [the witness’s] memory was suspiciously ironclad in light of the over two years that elapsed and the nearly 13,000 separate accounts she had worked on in that intervening period. In fact, [the witness] dug this hole deeper by stating that it was an independent recollection that on October 17, 2004 was a Friday; such unbelievable specificity harmed, rather than helped, her credibility.”
In addition, CCS attempted to add an additional fee onto the debt that was not owed. The collector attempted to add a $20 fee onto the debt for filing a document in court to announce that the debt was satisfied. But that fee was not yet earned and the service not yet performed. The court analogized the situation with going to the dentist for a cleaning. “The dentist coukld not seek collection of a teeth cleaning co-pay before he cleaned her teeth.”
This reasoning rings true for all debts. The collector cannot add on fees that are not owed or earned. Creditors Collection Service tried to pull one over on one of our clients, but we put an end to is. CCS learned the hard way about coming up against SmithMarco when our client’s case is on the line. For more information on how we can help you, contact us for a free case reivew.