A New York consumer claims in a proposed class action that Professional Claims Bureau, Inc. and ARStrat, LLC sent him a series of deceptive collection letters regarding a medical debt.
According to the lawsuit, defendant ARStrat sent the plaintiff a letter in February and March 2018. The case says the two letters falsely indicated that the plaintiff’s account was previously placed with non-party Ingram & Associates for collection. This misstatement, the suit argues, confused the plaintiff as to the legal status of his debt and whether any previous collection efforts were made.
Additionally, the complaint takes issue with another statement made in ARStrat’s March letter that read:
“We sent you a first notice which included your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act. You still have time to exercise your rights.”
The suit claims this statement miscommunicated the plaintiff’s rights. Because the defendant’s initial February letter was sent more than 30 days before the March notice, the man’s validation period during which he could dispute the debt had actually expired, the lawsuit states.
Further still, the case alleges the plaintiff was misled as to whom the debt was owed. The defendants’ first two collection letters supposedly named “North Shore University Hosp.-Manhasset” as the creditor, and demanded that payment be made to ARStrat. A third letter sent the following May by Professional Claims Bureau, however, stated the company was collecting a debt on behalf of “Northwell Health – North Shore University Hospital,” and indicated that payment should be made out to itself.
“The least sophisticated consumer would likely be confused as to whether the creditor to whom the debt is owed is ‘Northwell Health,’ or ‘North Shore University Hosp.- Manhasset,’ or ArStrat, LLC,’ or ‘Professional Claims Bureau, Inc.,’” the case argues.
The suit charges the defendants bombarded the plaintiff with numerous letters containing different information in order to “confuse and overwhelm” the man.