A class-action lawsuit filed on December 13, 2016 in United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Malhotra, et al. v. Kohl’s Corporation and Mercantile Adjustment Bureau LLC, claims Kohl’s violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by, allegedly, failing to include required disclosure language on Kohl’s debt collection letters.

Kohl’s Debt Collection Letters

The complaint alleges that the plaintiff received a collection letter, dated December 11, 2015, from Kohl’s stating that plaintiff’s debt is owed and should be paid to Kohl’s. According to the complaint, Mercantile Adjustment Bureau (“MAB”) subsequently sent the plaintiff a collection letter, dated January 15, 2016, stating that the current and original creditor is Capital One, N.A. Plaintiff claims that he is uncertain whether his creditor is Kohl’s or, as claimed by MAB, Capital One, N.A.

Why do the collection letters matter?

According to the class-action lawsuit, if the debt is owed to Capital One N.A., then, per the FDCPA, Kohl’s is a debt collector; if the debt is owed to Kohl’s, MAB’s collection letter is false.

Of significance, the plaintiff claims, among other things, that Kohl’s violated the FDCPA by failing to:

“. . . send the consumer a written notice containing a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the [debt collection] notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to valid by the debt collector[;]”

“. . . send the consumer a written notice containing a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector[;]” and

“. . . send the consumer a written notice containing a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original debtor, if different from the current creditor.”

Moreover, the lawsuit claims that one, if not both, debt collection letters were deceptive in violation of the FDCPA by not clearly and explicitly conveying the name of the creditor to which plaintiff’s debt is owed and, thus, “. . . us[ed] a false, deceptive and misleading representation in [an] attempt to collect a debt.”

Who may have been affected?

Anyone who owed a debt to Kohl’s and received similar letters attempting to collect on that debt may be eligible to join the suit. While the current claim only applies to New York residents, residents of other states who received similar letters may be eligible to bring their own claims.

What can those who may have been affected do?

The Kehoe Law Firm is ready to help.  Anyone who has incurred a debt primarily for personal, family or household purposes and received a Kohl’s debt collection letter can speak to an attorney for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling Michael Yarnoff, Esq., (215) 792-6676, Ext. 804, or sending an e-mail to [email protected].

Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. is a multidisciplinary, plaintiff–side law firm dedicated to protecting investors and consumers from corporate fraud, negligence, and other wrongdoing. Driven by a strong and principled sense of social responsibility and obtaining justice for the aggrieved, Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. represents plaintiffs seeking to recover investment losses resulting from securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, corporate wrongdoing or malfeasance, those harmed by anticompetitive practices, and consumers victimized by fraud, false claims, deception or data breaches.  Together, the partners of the Kehoe Law Firm, P.C. have spent more than 30 years prosecuting precedent-setting securities and financial fraud cases in federal and state courts on behalf of institutional and individual clients.