Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff announces the recent filing of a lawsuit against the Ohio law firm Sottile & Barile, LLC. The lawsuit, which has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that Sottile & Barile, LLC sent the plaintiff a collection letter on November 6, 2015 that inaccurately advised the consumer of his rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”).
The FDCPA requires a debt collector to provide consumers notice of certain rights either in the initial communication with the consumer or within five days thereof. One of those rights is the right to dispute the debt. If a consumer disputes the debt in writing within thirty days of receiving notification of the right to do so, the debt collector must cease collection of the debt until it provides validation of the debt. If the debt is disputed orally, during a telephone call for instance, the debt collector is NOT required to cease collection until it provides validation. This is where the Sottile & Barile collection letter is alleged to have gone wrong. It failed to advise recipients that the dispute must be in writing for the law to require the debt collector to cease collection until it provides validation of the debt. Here is the actual text of the notice:
If you request proof of the debt or any portion thereof or if you
request the name of the original creditor within thirty (30) days
from the date you receive this letter, the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act requires us to suspend our efforts to take back the
items, even if we have already filed the lawsuit, until we mail
you information validating the debt and/or until we provide
you the name of the original creditor.
In addition to requiring debt collectors to provide consumers certain information, the FDCPA requires debt collectors to be fair and not deceptive in their dealings with consumers. Debt collectors often violate the FDCPA with their collection letters. If you have received a collection letter from a debt collector and would like us to review it for compliance with the FDCPA, submit a contact form here and we’ll be happy to review the collection letter at no charge.