Synchrony Bank Debt Collector Faces Consumer Class

A consumer suit alleging Synchrony Bank’s debt collection agency sent illegal collection notices may proceed as a certified class action, the Sixth Circuit affirmed July 30.

The notices created the risk of real harm that the recipients wouldn’t be able to confirm that they owed the debts sought by the collector before paying them, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

That is a sufficiently concrete injury to give plaintiffs standing to sue in federal court, Judge Helene N. White said.

Wilbur Macy and Pamela J. Stowe had Synchrony Bank credit card accounts that were referred to GC Services LP for collection.

GC’s debt collection notices violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because they didn’t inform consumers of their debt-validation rights, they allege.

The lower court certified a class of Kentucky and Nevada consumers, rejecting GC’s challenges to standing.

The appeals court agreed class status is proper.

“GC’s opposition to class certification rests primarily on its contention that plaintiffs lack standing,” the court said. “Thus, having rejected GC’s standing argument, we reject GC’s class certification challenge as well.”

Judges Julia Smith Gibbons and Jane Branstetter Stranch joined the opinion.

Greenwald Davidson Radbil PLLC represented the class.

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith represented the debt collector.

The case is Macy v. GC Servs. LP, 2018 BL 269258, 6th Cir., No. 17-5593, 7/30/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com