The facts in Gelinas are only slightly different than those presented in Kostik. In the Gelinas case, the envelope in question displayed a series of 21 numbers, the last 10 of which were the original invoice number for the services rendered that created the outstanding balance due. (In Kostik the envelope displayed a barcode.)
For the past 15 years lawyers have artfully drafted agreements that address such things as whether the accounts being worked are “in default” and whether the employees of an agency working the business are “de facto” employees of the creditor. Often the contract would require that those same employees be segregated from the rest of the company and/or working in isolated space. Numerous other provisions in First Party service agreements all have their genesis in deMayo. Times have changed.
Last week the Huffington Post published an article that just sent me over the edge. The headline read, “Republicans Want Private Debt Collectors To Replace IRS Agents; The GOP thinks it’ll save the government money, but the facts suggest the opposite.” While the headline got my attention, the first two sentences really got my blood boiling…
Given the data that must be weighed by a creditor or debt collector in determining where a consumer resides – the area code of the number called, the zip code of the residence of record, any statements by the consumer about his or her place of residence – it is certain that the Discover Consent Order will be the start of yet another flood of consumer lawsuits against the collection industry regarding the calling of consumer cell phones.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed down a decision that went too far in holding that all litigation related activity is subject to the FDCPA. In pursuing their client’s judgment, an attorney and law firm obtained a garnishment against Nedzad Miljkovic. Miljkovic filed a claim for exemption in response, which the creditor disputed. However, the writ was eventually dissolved on the creditor’s attorney’s motion after Miljkovic provided discovery showing that his wages were exempt from garnishment.
Encore Capital Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECPG) announced yesterday that it has collaborated with U.S. Reps. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Duncan Hunter (CA-50) to create a bill that would exempt up to $2,500 worth of forgiven personal and household debt from federal taxation. The bill (H.R. 2640) was recently introduced as the “Consumer Debt Forgiveness Tax Relief Act of 2015.” This re-raises the 1099-C debate for the collection industry.
As part of a larger CFPB enforcement action announced today against Citibank, N.A., Department Stores National Bank (a Citibank subsidiary) will pay $23.8 million for deceptively charging expedited payment fees to nearly 1.8 million consumer accounts during collection calls.
Yesterday the CFPB released its first monthly report on consumer complaints. The Report provides a high-level snapshot of trends, including the most complained about companies regarding debt collection.
On July 14, 2015 the PACE filed a Petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the matter of Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, Declaratory Ruling and Order.
As insideARM reported last month, oral arguments on the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaus (CFPB) action against the Georgia collection law firm Frederick J Hanna & Associates P.C. were held on June 3rd in Atlanta. Yesterday the judge issued an order denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss.