A Berthoud woman is alleging that a Wyoming debt collection company violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by disclosing her personal information to a third party.
Stephanie L. DeHart wrote in a lawsuit filed on Friday that she incurred medical debt from the birth of her daughter at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital. The debt transferred to CollectionCenter, Inc. of Rawlins. On Jan. 8, DeHart made a partial payment, but the collection agency sent an e-mailed receipt to a person whom DeHart alleged was unfamiliar to her.
Upon learning of the disclosure, DeHart filed suit, pointing to the federal law which requires that “[a]ny debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall not state that such consumer owes any debt.”
She also claims that the breach of privacy constitutes an “unfair or unconscionable” practice. CollectionCenter, Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nathan C. Volheim, one of DeHart's lawyers in Illinois, would not comment on the litigation.
“A debt collector generally can’t discuss your debt with anyone but you or your spouse,” the U.S. Federal Trade Commission advises. “A collector can contact other people to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work, but usually can’t contact them more than once.”
At the end of 2019, the Consumer Credit Unit within the Colorado Department of Law reported that it had received 324 complaints since July 1, more than 70% of which were against licensed collection agencies. The office resolved 42 of the 324 complaints, including through lawsuits, license revocations, and advisory letters.
The case is Stephanie L. Hart v. CollectionCenter, Inc.