Collection letters are the bane of our industry. Letters are expensive to send and – despite what a certain television pundit claims – studies prove that few consumers actually read collection letters. The CFPB, the FCC and other regulators pay little more than lip service to the urgent requests from consumer advocates to allow collectors to communicate with consumers electronically, with states such as New York enacting Byzantine and unworkable rules to “allow” collectors to communicate with consumers via email.
It is anticipated that the CFPB, in its upcoming notice of proposed debt collection communication rules, will adopt standards for electronic communications similar to the convoluted rules found in New York. Ultimately it is consumers who are harmed by these rules that disregard modern electronic communications in favor of antiquated collection letters. Further, consumer attorneys scrutinize collection letters, measuring the font size of disclosures and injecting tortured interpretations of plain language to find possible lawsuits (and potential paydays) against collection agencies diligently seeking to comply with the law.
In the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin discuss a new wave of lawsuits against debt collectors in California which focuses on the font size of certain disclosures, and in New York, which centers on a misreading of Second Circuit case law.