Collectors frequently point to contradictory language among the FDCPA and other statutes as proof that standardized debt collection rules are needed in this industry. However, even in an industry where consumer attorneys frequently make "creative" arguments, it is rare to see a claim that the FDCPA itself contains contradictory language. In a number of recent cases, consumer attorneys are arguing that the validation language from the statute – the same language collectors have been using since the FDCPA was enacted in 1977 -- is now somehow unclear and confusing. Specifically, consumer attorneys argue that the first sentence of the validation notice (relating to disputes), which does not contain an "in writing" requirement, contradicts the second sentence of the notice, which does require a written request from the consumer to receive verification. Unfortunately, two Courts in New Jersey within the past year sided with the consumers in denying debt collectors' motions to dismiss on this issue. Two more cases on the issue – on which the debt collectors prevailed – are pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
In this episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin examine the recent cases alleging that the standard validation language violates the FDCPA and provide guidance for debt collectors seeking to avoid liability on this issue.