Danielle Phillips filed a federal lawsuit against DRS Bonded Collection Services in United States District Court June 11, alleging DRS violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by making numerous false statements while trying to collect an old debt.

According to Phillips, in 2003, she and her ex-husband fell behind on paying a car loan through Wells Fargo resulting in the car being repossessed and sold.

She claims Wells Fargo hired DRS to collect the deficiency on the loan of about $12,000 and in March 2008, DRS started to make phone calls to her ex-husband demanding payment for the debt.

She claims DRS debt collector Stephanie Lawson informed her ex-husband that it would accept $4,100 in one lump sum or six monthly payments of $700.

Phillips claims her former husband informed Lawson that he currently had a low paying job and could not afford either of those options and Lawson then told him that DRS would freeze their bank accounts and garnish their wages if he would not agree to her terms.

Phillips claims her ex-husband was "frightened" by Lawson's threat and negotiated a deal in which he would make 20 monthly payments of $200 and a final payment of $100 to satisfy the debt.

She claims after talking with her ex-husband about the payments, she asked Lawson to send a letter confirming the payment plan and indicated that she would be able to afford the payments.

According to Phillips, she again confirmed the deal with Lawson on March 18, and gave Lawson her bank account information to have the first $200 payment to be automatically deducted on April 1.

She claims before the first payment was taken out, she called DRS to ask when the written letter confirming the agreement would be sent to her.

Phillips claims she was transferred to a supervisor named "Clive" who rudely stated that Lawson did not agree to those terms and then hung up the phone causing her to hire an attorney to protect her from the threats of freezing her bank account and wage garnishments.

She claims DRS violated FDCPA by:

  • Falsely stating that there was a settlement;

  • Falsely stating that there was not a settlement;

  • Falsely threatening to sue her when there was no intent to do so; and

  • Falsely threatening to freeze her bank account and garnish her wages, when DRS had no right, nor any ability, to do so.

    Represented by David J. Philipps and Mary Philipps of Palos Hills, Ill., Phillips is seeking a judgment for actual and statutory damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees as provided by §1692k(a) of the FDCPA.

    The case has been assigned to District Judge J. Phil Gilbert in Benton.

    08 CV 427

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