A federal judge this week sided with a consumer plaintiff in denying a motion to dismiss an FDCPA class action case. The collection agency defendant argued that the debt did not fall under the FDCPA because it was incurred in a transaction required by law. The case also involves a claim concerning disclosure through a clear envelope window, a recent development that is sure to pop up more frequently.
After a string of debt industry victories claiming violations of the FDCPA in voice messages, a collection agency in South Carolina last month was handed a defeat by a federal judge for failing to properly identify itself in a voicemail. The judge used the Foti decision in her opinion on the case.
In October 2014, consumers filed 911 lawsuits claiming violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), up 13.4 percent from September and an increase of 16.1 percent from October 2013. But total FDCPA lawsuits are still on track to finish well below 2013 numbers, which would mark the third straight year of declines.
The long-running legal battle between movie and music studios and consumers that illegally download their products got a novel twist late last week when a consumer attorney filed a class action lawsuit against a company tasked with enforcing the studios’ claims. The suit says that the company is acting as a debt collector and has violated the TCPA and FDCPA.
A U.S. Circuit Court decision this summer took an extraordinary step when it held that filing a proof of claim on time barred debt is conduct that violates the FDCPA. At the time, attorneys close to both bankruptcy and FDCPA proceedings warned that it would touch off a very real firestorm in that sector of the ARM industry. That has proven to be quite true.
A federal district judge in New York last week dismissed an FDCPA case in which a consumer claimed a collection agency unlawfully disclosed his debt to a third party. The judge not only disagreed with the allegations in the case, but noted that the law itself might be an issue, writing, “The FDCPA is clearly out of touch with modern communication technology.”
In an unscientific poll question posted on insideARM.com last week, 59.3 percent of ARM firm respondents reported that they have or may have been baited into a violation of collection law by a consumer.
Section 1692g of the FDCPA says collectors must provide a notice to consumers within five days of initial communication stating the amount of the debt, the name of the current creditor, and explaining the consumer’s right to dispute the debt and to obtain verification. You might assume that a collector can comply with that section by simply copying the language from the statute into their initial notice to consumers. Not exactly.
We were wondering how common are solicited FDCPA violations. Or violations of any law involving debt collectors. Has your company ever been baited into a violation?
In one of the greatest examples of baiting a collector into a violation of the FDCPA, a plaintiff in Missouri decided he was not going to wait for a collector to call him and instead called the collector himself to induce a 1692c(a)(2) violation.