In 2005, Christina Bazemore applied for a credit card online through First Bank of Delaware. She charged several items to the card, but was unable to pay off the balance in full. Her account was later acquired by Jefferson Capital System, LLC, whom Ms. Bazemore later sued for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Jefferson attempted to compel arbitration in accordance with an arbitration clause said to be contained in the credit card agreement between Ms. Bazemore and First Bank of Delaware. The district court concluded that Ms. Bazemore’s claim was outside of the scope of the arbitration clause and denied Jefferson’s motion. Jefferson appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which affirmed the lower court's decision.
Here are the facts of the case:
- Ms. Bazemore applied for an Imagine MasterCard in November 2005, but there is no evidence to prove that she agreed to any terms or conditions to open the account.
- An individual employed by the credit card company at the time stated that she should have received a Welcome Kit approximately 10 days after applying for the card online, but was unable to prove that one ever was sent to Ms. Bazemore. He also claimed that she would have accepted the terms online when she applied, but could not prove that this ever occurred either.
- Ms. Bazemore filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2013 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Georgia. By January 2014, Jefferson filed a proof of claim for the debt.
- In September 2014, Ms. Bazemore brought a putative class action lawsuit against Jefferson, alleging that they violated the FDCPA by filing the proof of claim because their claim was time barred.
- Jefferson moved the case to federal court and then moved to compel arbitration. After the motion was denied, Jefferson appealed.
The appeals court determined that Jefferson failed to prove the existence of an arbitration agreement, and therefore that Jefferson cannot compel Ms. Bazemore into arbitration. Jefferson’s motion was denied.
If you suspect that you are a victim of an FDCPA violation, you should speak with a Chicago consumer lawyer at Atlas Consumer Law You may be entitled to compensation!