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Gottesman v. Virtuoso Sourcing Group, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 9, 2019

CHANA GOTTESMAN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated Plaintiffs,
v.
VIRTUOSO SOURING GROUP, LLC JOHN DOES 1-25 Defendants.

          OPINION

          HON. FREDA L. WOLFSON U.S. CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This putative class action arises out of Plaintiff Chana Gottesman's ("Plaintiff") claim that Virtuoso Sourcing Group, LLC ("Defendant" or "VSG"), and John Does 1-25, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq., by sending a false or misleading debt collection letter that failed to effectively inform Plaintiff what she must do in order to dispute the alleged debt. In the present matter, Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's FDCPA claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         For purposes of this motion, the facts alleged by Plaintiff in her Complaint ("Compl.") are taken as true. Plaintiff filed a putative class action suit on December 3, 2018, against Defendant. Plaintiff is a resident of Toms River, New Jersey. Compl., ¶ 7. Defendant is a debt collection agency operating in Glendale, Colorado. Id. at ¶ 8. On August 9, 2018, Defendant sent to Plaintiff a one-page collection letter (“Letter”) regarding a debt owed to ADT Security in the amount of $1, 095.70. See Compl., Exh. A., Letter dated August 9, 2018. The Letter reads as follows:

Virtuoso Sourcing Group Please Mail All Correspondence To: 4500 Cherry Creek South Drive, Suite 500 Glendale, Colorado 80246 Office Hours (MST): Monday - Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM 888-982-6758
08/09/2018 Creditor: ADT Security Principal Balance: $275.11 Balance: $820.59
Client Ref #: *****580 Your Account No. ****998 Dear Chana Gottesman, This account has been assigned to our collection agency for payment. You can make payment of this bill anytime you would like by calling our office to pay with a check or credit card, or by mailing your payment to the above address. We may report information about this account to a national credit bureau after thirty days (30) of your receipt of this notice unless the bill is otherwise resolved. If you are unable to pay the balance in full and would like to discuss payment arrangements please contact us.
Please read the below for important information regarding your rights.
You are hereby advised: Unless you, the consumer, notify this collection agency within thirty days (30) after receipt of this notice that you dispute the validity of the debt or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by this collection agency. If you, the consumer, notify this collection agency in writing within thirty days after receipt of this notice, that the debt or any portion thereof is disputed, this collection agency will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against you and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to you by this collection agency. Upon your written request within thirty days (30) after receipt of this notice, this collection agency will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
Thank you.
This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. This communication is from a debt collector.
Here are several options for how you can contact VSG to pay or otherwise resolve your bill with ADT Security.
Please visit our YouTube Channel - Virtuoso Sourcing Group By phone: 888-982-6758 On-line: www.payvsg.com Email: custserv@payvsg.com Text: 406-206-1009 Id.

         Based on this communication, Plaintiff alleges that VSG violated 1) 15 U.S.C. § 1692e by making a false and misleading representation in connection with the collection of the debt, such that the Letter is open to more than one reasonable interpretation, at least one of which is inaccurate; and 2) that VSG violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g, by falsely misstating the consumer's rights by omitting the requirement that the consumer must request validation and make any dispute of the debt in writing. Plaintiff alleges that the Letter does not meet the required guidelines of the FDCPA, because in its validation notice, the first sentence leaves out the requirement that a consumer must dispute in writing, and the second sentence begins: "If you, the consumer, notify this collection agency in writing...," implying that the writing requirement is voluntary. When coupled with the failure of the first sentence to contain any mention of the word "writing," Plaintiff alleges that ...


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