Choice Physicians Billing, Inc. is staring down a proposed class action filed by a Florida consumer who claims a collection notice she received from the company did not comply with state and federal debt collection laws.
The timeline of the lawsuit begins back in 2012 when the plaintiff was rear-ended in a motor vehicle accident and needed medical treatment. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff had an insurance policy with USAA Casualty Insurance Company, the suit says, and required medical treatment at the Injury Treatment Center of Naples. In February 2018, the defendant allegedly mailed the plaintiff a collection notice regarding a debt owed in connection with her treatment that made the following statement:
“If you notify us in writing within 30 days of the date of this notice that the debt or any portion thereof is disputed, we will obtain verification of the debt, and we will mail a copy of the verification to you.”
The issue, the lawsuit claims, is that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) allows for the plaintiff to notify the defendant in writing within 30 daysafter receipt of the notice, not 30 days as of the date listed in the notice. Moreover, the communication allegedly failed to:
Disclose that the “debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose”; and
Inform the plaintiff of exactly how to make payment on the obligation.
Further still, the February 2018 notice allegedly sought payment on services rendered between November 13, 2012 and April 30, 2013, despite the statute of limitations being five years.
“Therefore, a portion of the debt is no longer enforceable by judicial means,” the suit claims.
The plaintiff, as a “least sophisticated consumer,” the lawsuit says, would reasonably misinterpret the defendant’s collection notice.