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 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.
Ask any collection agency executive about their top three compliance issues, and “voicemail messages” will most likely be among them. The reason? The FDCPA can present agencies with a real Catch 22. But the Zortman case offers an intriguing workaround with specific language.
Collection organizations and agencies are under intense scrutiny concerning the manner in which they contact consumers, and compliance risks are at an all-time high. There are many different statutes and regulations enforced at the federal and state levels. Additionally, collection organizations often have their own internal governance rules.
A district judge in Wisconsin last month denied a plaintiff’s petition for class certification in a TCPA case concerning debt collection calls. In an epic footnote discussing his reasoning, the judge noted that the FCC has been lacking in clarifying its rules on consent under the TCPA, and that efforts have revealed that the regulator “appears to be allergic to brevity and clarity.”
Using reasoning from a controversial Circuit Court decision involving a debt collection agency, a federal judge in California has denied Twitter, Inc.’s motion to dismiss a class action TCPA case that alleges it used an “automated telephone dialing system” to send text messages to cell numbers belonging to consumers that had not consented to receive them.
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 federal judge in California late last week ruled in favor of a defendant in a TCPA case by deciding that a platform for sending out text messages did not meet the definition of an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS). The ruling is seen as positive precedent for judicial ATDS interpretations.
The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, a group affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, late last week posted a video on YouTube describing the trouble the Los Angeles Lakers have had with a TCPA class action lawsuit.