Lawsuit Alleges Kohl’s Violated Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
A proposed class action lawsuit alleges that Kohl’s department store violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The plaintiff alleges that Kohl’s failed to include mandatory disclosure statements on collection letters. FDCPA protects consumers from deceptive or misleading activities related to debt collection. A debt collector’s actions are considered deceptive if it “can reasonably be read by the least sophisticated consumer to have two or more meanings, one of which is inaccurate.”
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm with decades of experience representing consumers in various class action lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a plaintiff who alleges that he received a debt collection letter from Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, on behalf of Kohl’s. The letter, dated Dec. 11, 2015, says Kohl’s is the creditor and requests that a payment be made. According to the complaint, the plaintiff allegedly received another letter dated Jan. 15, 2016 from Mercantile Adjustment Bureau. This time, the plaintiff says Capital One NA was named as the current and original creditor.
The plaintiff alleges that these letters are confusing, as he now does not know whether the true creditor is Kohl’s or Capital One. If he must pay the debt to Capital One, then Kohl’s is considered a debt collector under FDCPA. If he owes the debt to Kohl’s, then the collection letter send by MAB is allegedly false.
Furthermore, the plaintiff alleges that the Kohl’s letter fails to include disclosure language, which is required under FDCPA. “[FDCPA rules] requires that within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector,” the complaint states.
The plaintiff alleges that Kohl’s failure to include disclosure information violates the FDCPA. Additionally, he alleges that the letters lack language stating that if the debt is disputed within the 30-day period, the “debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment against the consumer and a copy of the verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.”
Under FDCPA, if a consumer makes a written request within 30 days, then the debt collector must produce the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. According to the lawsuit, the debt collection letters failed to provide this information, violating FDCPA. The complaint alleges that one or both collection letters is false.
Kohl’s Sued over Deceptive Advertising
Kohl’s is reportedly facing other class action lawsuits. According to Associated Press, Los Angles prosecutors sued Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Macy’s for allegedly misrepresenting discounts to shoppers. The lawsuit alleges that retailers falsely increased the prices of regular merchandise so consumers would believe that they were getting a larger discount.
Under California law, retailers cannot advertise a higher original price unless the item was sold at that price within three months of the advertisement.
According to the lawsuit, Kohl’s allegedly marketed its Belted Cargo Shorts at a discounted price of $35.99 in January 2016. The store advertised the original price as $60. However, the complaint states that the shorts were never priced for sale online for more than $35.99.
A similar lawsuit was filed against Kohl’s in 2015, alleging false original prices. The two lead plaintiffs allege that Kohl’s engages in deceptive advertising, particularly for the store’s own brands, which include: Sonoma, Apt. 9, Croft & Barrow, Daisy Fuentes, Elle, Mudd, Jennifer Lopez, and Simply Vera. The lawsuit contends that, because Kohl’s owns these brands, the “original price” of the item is arbitrary. The complaint states, “Plaintiffs and members of the proposed Class… received items of lesser value and quality than they expected and Kohl’s unlawfully, inequitable, and otherwise improperly was thereby unjustly enriched and benefited.”
Filing a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit
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