A putative class action by Victoria's Secret customers alleges that the company collection agent's methods violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Allied Interstate, a Columbus, Ohio, allegedly failed to tell credit-card holders who defaulted on payments that interest would continue to accrue, according to the suit, Luna v. Allied Interstate, filed Tuesday in federal court in Newark.
Class representative Justina Luna of Bound Brook alleges she received a dunning notice on Sept. 10, 2012, asserting that a fixed sum was owed and failing to mention interest,
The letter put Luna's debt at $272 but offered to settle it for $177.
It was not until a second letter, sent on June 25, 2013, that Allied Interstate stated that "the creditor continues to assess interest on the debt and you may owe an additional amount after we receive your payment."
That later letter did not offer to reduce the debt.
The failure to state that interest would add up on the unpaid principal violated a prohibition on false or misleading representations under the FDCPA, according to the suit.
The plaintiff cites two cases from the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Michalak v. ARS National Systems, and Lukawski v. Client Services, which held such an omission illegal.
The suit also names CVF Consumer Acquisition Co., which bought Luna's debt from Victoria's Secret after she defaulted.
CVF is vicariously liable for Allied's conduct as a debt collector using others to collect its debts, the plaintiff alleges.
Luna seeks to recover on behalf of people with a New Jersey address who received a collection letter from Allied that did not explain the accrual practice. There are at least 40 members in the class, the suit claims.
Luna seeks statutory damages, attorney fees and litigation costs, and any other relief ordered by the court. The suit was filed by Ryan Gentile of Gus Farinella's office in New York.
Luna is the class representative in two other putative class actions in the District of New Jersey, all filed by Gentile and accusing debt collectors of FDCPA violations.
Gentile declined to comment.
Robert Burke, a spokesman for Allied Interstate's parent company, iQor of New York, also declined to comment.
Representatives of CVF, a statutory trust incorporated in Delaware, could not be located.
In addition to the case at hand, Luna is the class representative in two other putative class actions in the District of New Jersey, all filed by Gentile and accusing collectors of violations of the debt-collection statute.
Luna also filed another suit against Allied Interstate on March 5, again represented by Gentile, but voluntarily dismissed it on April 15.
That case concerned a debt to Plains Commerce Bank that was sold to a company called PYOD. The suit charged that Allied acted in a misleading fashion because a telephone message to Luna from its collector left a telephone number with a 973 area code, implying the collector was in New Jersey when the call was made from Arizona.
Gentile's notice of dismissal in the first case filed by Luna against Allied Interstate did not explain why the suit was withdrawn.