Collection agencies and debt buyers continue to be inundated with FDCPA and TCPA lawsuits, many of which drag on through months and even years of expensive discovery and motion practice. What if there existed a single argument that could be made in many consumer cases that would successfully remove the matter from Court and likely end the case in its entirety?
In 2014, there were 9,720 lawsuits filed in federal courts claiming violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a decline of 5.7 percent from 2013. It was the third straight year of significant declines in consumer FDCPA case filings.
The Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday that on its behalf, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in federal court against a Texas-based debt collection operation and its current and former principals for illegally threatening consumers with false claims that unless they pay a debt, they will face legal action or wage garnishment.
A district judge in Georgia last week sided with a debt collector in an FDCPA suit where the consumer plaintiff claimed violations because collection efforts continued after she orally disputed a debt and did not dispute the debt in writing for seven months. The ruling, while positive for the ARM company, further confuses the oral vs. written dispute issue.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a 2-1 decision that merely offering a settlement on a time-barred debt can run afoul of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because a consumer might consider the word “settlement” to be a legal term and may assume they are being sued or that they could be sued in the future.
The plaintiff in a case decided last week in federal district court argued that because a debt collection agency technically violated the TCPA in a call to the defendant, the company was also on the hook for an FDCPA claim under that law’s prohibition on “illegal acts.” But the judge disagreed, ruling in favor of the debt collector.
In the six months from June to November 2014, consumers filing complaints concerning debt collection practices shifted their focus somewhat to include more complaints about debts arising from identity theft and “right to dispute” notices in communications.
In a ruling bound to increase compliance concerns for purchasers of bad debts and collection law firms hired to enforce judgments against consumers, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Powell v. Palisades Acquisition XI, held that the filing of an assignment of judgment is a collection action subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
On December 18, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Case No. 13-1111) ordered consumer attorney Reid D. Henderson to pay almost $7,000 in attorney fees as sanctions for his repeated failures to comply with Court orders in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) suit.
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.