A recent court case may prove significant for both Illinois debt collectors and consumers. Recently, a district court in Indiana ruled that a validation letter attached to an email did not comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The debt collection agency that sent the email lost the case against it because of a faulty process. Moving forward, this case may set a precedent for how debt collectors may lawfully communicate with consumers via email. When it comes to validation letters, the FDCPA maintains strict standards for how and when this information is delivered. Therefore, any Illinois consumer who receives an email from a debt collector should pay close attention to whether or not the message violates the FDCPA.
Why Illinois Consumers Should Pay Close Attention to Emails from Debt Collectors
Based on information provided about Lavallee v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC, it seems like the sued debt collector (Med-1 Solutions) attempted FDCPA compliance. Med-1 Solutions used a software application called “SenditCertified” to send a validation letter to a consumer as an email attachment. In these types of emails, the subject reads, “Med-1 Solutions has sent you a secure message.”
If the consumer pursued by the debt collector opens the email, they receive this message: “Please find your message attached.” The idea here is that the email should serve the same purpose as a certified mail delivery. Instead of signing for a letter, the consumer clicks a link to verify their identity. In fact, if the consumer clicks the link, they are then sent to a webpage where they are instructed to check a box in order to “sign” for their “secure package.”
It is also important for Illinois consumers to know that, in the contested email, Med-1 Solutions identified itself as a debt collector and provided the name of the company, address, and phone number. In the case that went to the Indiana district court, a Med-1 Solutions client claimed that she never received a validation letter for the debt in question. The debt collectors sent the email, but the consumer didn’t open the attachment.
The Verdict Against the Indiana Debt Collectors
The debt collector argued in court that it sent the validation letter within the proper timeframe, and securely. The fact that the consumer failed to access the letter seemed irrelevant to Med-1 Solutions. However, the court disagreed. Instead, the court determined that receiving an attachment in an email is not the same as receiving a certified letter. They ruled that a debt collector cannot just assume letter receipt when sending it as an emailed attachment. On the contrary, experts advise consumers are against opening attachments on emails sent from unfamiliar sources.
What Illinois Consumers Might Expect in Future Emails from Debt Collectors
The court ruled the emailing process deficient in the Med-1 Solutions case. It is unclear exactly how debt collectors might email validation letters in an FDCPA compliant manner. Therefore, it seems likely that few debt collection agencies will attempt to use email to send these letters to clients in the near future. Illinois consumers might find other types of communications from debt collectors in their inboxes, but probably not attached validation letters.
Yet, if a debt collector does attempt to send your official validation letter in this way, you may have an FDCPA case against them. Debt collectors are also in violation of the FDCPA if they threaten, use harsh language, or call you at inappropriate times. In other words, under the FDCPA, debt collectors are not permitted to engage in harassment against Illinois consumers in any way.
If, however, you are the victim of debt collector harassment, you can end the abuse by calling Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Illinois. When you call our firm, an experienced FDCPA attorney will go to work immediately to stop the harassing debt collector. In some cases, our clients actually receive damage payments from debt collectors who violate the FDCPA.
The Free and Legal way to End Debt Collector Harassment
Being harassed by debt collectors is bad enough, but when incorrect collections make it on to your credit reports and bring your credit score down, that’s even worse. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (773) 360-0665 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about how to Stop Debt Collector Harassment for Free, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/illinois/stop-debt-collector/.