Consumer vs. Diversified Recovery Bureau LLC
In January 2024, United States District Judge Ronnie L. White ruled on a motion in the case of “Consumer” vs. Diversified Recovery Bureau LLC, case number 4:22-CV-1122 RLW. This lawsuit centers around allegations of improper debt collection tactics, and violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Background of the Case
The consumer initiated legal action against Diversified Recovery Bureau LLC, accusing them of violating the FDCPA and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). The Consumer’s main contention was that the defendant attempted to collect a debt from him through methods he deemed unlawful.
The Allegations
– Early Morning Calls: The consumer’s primary allegation was that the defendant contacted him on his cell phone before 8:00 AM on two separate occasions, which he argued was against the law.
– Claims Under FDCPA and MMPA: He claimed these actions violated specific sections of the FDCPA, designed to prevent abuse in debt collection, and the MMPA, which governs unfair practices in commerce.
Court’s Examination and Key Findings
1. Legal Standing: The court assessed whether the Consumer had the legal standing to sue, a prerequisite for any court case. It determined that the Consumer had indeed suffered tangible physical effects, such as increased blood pressure and migraines, due to these early morning calls. This finding was crucial as it established that the Consumer had a legitimate grievance to pursue in court.
2. Claims Under Scrutiny:
– FDCPA Claims: The court closely scrutinized the claims under the FDCPA, particularly section 1692c(a)(1), which prohibits debt collectors from making calls at inconvenient times.
– MMPA Claims: The MMPA’s application in this case was also a point of focus, examining how it applies to debt collection practices.
3. Evidence Evaluation:
– Defendant’s Records: The defendant presented records claiming no calls were made before 8:00 AM.
– Plaintiff’s Testimony: The Consumer’s testimony contradicted these records. The court had to decide whether to accept his version of events or the defendant’s record-based assertions.
The Court’s Decision
– Summary Judgment Motion: The court did not fully accept the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. It held that there was enough evidence and dispute over the facts to warrant a trial, especially concerning the alleged early morning calls.
– Dismissal of Specific FDCPA Claims: The court dismissed some FDCPA claims as the Consumer had abandoned them during the litigation.
Diversified Recovery Bureau LLC has faced numerous customer complaints, as detailed on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile for the company. Here is a summary of the types of complaints and the general content of these complaints:
* Total Complaints: The company appears to have had 142 total complaints in the last 3 years, with 78 complaints closed in the last 12 months.
* Complaint Types: The majority of these complaints fall under “Billing/Collection Issues,” with a smaller portion labeled as “Problems with Product/Service.”
* Nature of Complaints: Many consumers have reported receiving excessive and repetitive phone calls from the company, often with voicemails that provide little to no information about the debt or the reason for the call. This has led to accusations of harassment and suspicions of scam operations.
* Resolutions: In several instances, the complaints were resolved after the company confirmed that the complainants were not the intended recipients of the calls and ceased further contact. In some cases, the consumer’s number was removed from the company’s call list, and any associated account was closed and returned to the client.
Here are a few examples of the complaints:
* A complainant reported receiving incessant calls without owing any debts and requested the calls to stop after verifying their credit report.
* Another complaint involved multiple vague voicemails from the agency without any clear association to the company or known debt.
* Consumers have also complained about being contacted for debts they do not owe or for debts associated with their ex-partners from whom they had been divorced for many years.