By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A Gillette man who worked for more than two years to convince various debt collectors that his debt was paid is suing the companies for violations of federal debt collection rules.
Bryan Vass, in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, alleged the debt he had paid off in 2019 was passed around to different debt collectors for two years, resulting in a lawsuit being filed against him.
The companies have all violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, in 2018, Vass reached an agreement to settle a debt to Cach, LLC, with Frontline Asset Strategies for $5,000, to be paid in 12 installments.
The lawsuit said Vass paid off the debt in November 2019, but in April 2020, Frontline told him his debt had been transferred to Resurgent Capital Services, a consumer debt collection business, so Frontline could not provide a letter saying his debt was paid in full.
Resurgent placed the debt with yet another consumer debt collection service, Machol and Johannes, a Denver-based company.
In June 2020, Machol and Johannes sued Vass, seeking to collect almost $9,000. The company also refused to honor Vass’ agreement with the original debt collection company, Frontline Asset Strategies.
In November 2021, an attorney for Vass contacted Machol and Johannes and sent them proof that Vass’ debt had been paid.
In January 2022, Machol and Johannes told the attorney that the account and the proof of his payments had been sent to another office.
The account was sent in February 2022 to Gurstel Law Firm, another debt collection service, but the company has yet to acknowledge the settlement of Vass’ debt, the lawsuit said.
“On numerous occasions, defendants, in spite of the proof that all 12 payments were made on this agreement, refuse to recognize that the account has been paid in full,” it said. “The conduct of defendants, as well as that of their agents, servants, and/or employees, was malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, negligent and in wanton disregard for federal law and the rights of (Vass) …”
The lawsuit accused all of the debt collectors of “abusive, deceptive and unfair collection practices.”
It also accused the companies of breach of contract for failing to honor the settlement deal Vass reached originally.
The lawsuit seeks damages in an amount to be determined in trial.