Couple claims debt collector violated 'fairness' Act

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 18, 2006, 10:13am

Paul and Lynn Pugsley of St. Elmo filed suit against Thornton Capital Advisors of San Diego, Calif. claiming it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

According to the suit filed in federal court July 5, the Pugsleys defaulted on payment toward a 1999 Ford Contour to HSBC Auto Finance which repossessed their car and sold the delinquent debt to Thornton in November of 2005.

The Pugsley claim that Thornton called them on two occasions in November 2005 and stated that a lawsuit was pending against them for collection of that debt.

They claim they asked the caller for his name but he refused to identify himself, so they asked him to call their lawyer and not to call them again.

The Pugsleys claim that again on Dec. 1 and 15, 2005, a person claiming to be a lawyer hired by HSBC called them and again told them that a lawsuit was pending.

According to the suit, when the Pugsleys asked where the suit was filed, the Thornton employee stated, "It is not imperative to the situation."

"The employee of Thornton is not an attorney licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction," the complaint states.

They claim Thornton violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by:

  • misrepresenting that a lawsuit had been filed;
  • misrepresenting that an employee was an attorney;
  • contacting a person represented by counsel; and
  • misrepresenting that HSBC was collecting their own debt.

    The Pugsleys claim they suffered actual damages and are seeking actual and statutory damages, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs of the suit, and any other relief the court deems just and proper.

    They are represented by Roy Jackson Dent of Charleston.

    The case has been assigned to Chief District Judge G. Patrick Murphy.

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