Case Conclusion Date: 09.23.2010
Practice Area: Debt collection
Outcome: Case settled for $15,000 plus significant reduction and restructuring of credit card debt
Description: Virtually every day over a 9 month period, Navy Federal Credit Union called consumer Carolee Dempsey approximately 6-12 times on her work phone, and another 6-12 times on her home phone regarding an overdrawn credit card account. NFCU conduct was particularly unjustified in light of the fact that Dempsey was making payments in order to get caught up. Not only was the volume of calls (estimated in the thousands) abusive, but the content when she did pick up was outrageous. NFCU unlawfully threatened to terminate her child support payments and her son’s social security checks. Cases such as those pose a practical difficulty, as the consumer protection attorney’s primary tool with regard to collection harassment, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), is not available because Navy Federal Credit Union was an original creditor. Undeterred, Schlanger & Schlanger, LLP filed an action in federal court, Eastern District of New York, under the Fair Credit Billing Act, an underutilized subsection of the Truth in Lending Act addressing credit card payment disputes, and included state law claims for violations of N.Y. General Business Law § 349, which prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices, and for nuisance and intentional infliction of emotional distress. NFCU quickly settled.