Judge Denies Summary Judgment in FDCPA Case Over Voicemail Message

A District Court judge in Arizona has denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not disclosing in its initial communications with the plaintiff — two voicemail messages — that the defendant was attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose.

A copy of the ruling in Driesen v. RSI Enterprises Incorporated can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant placed two calls to the plaintiff on the same day, about an hour apart from each other. On each call, the defendant left identical voicemail messages: ““We have an important message from RSI Enterprises. This is a call from a debt collector. Please call 602-627-2301. Thank you.”

Several days later, the plaintiff received a letter from the defendant — dated the same day the calls were made — in which the defendant made the disclosure that it was attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff lacked standing to file suit because she did not “allege any informational violation, risk of financial harm, detrimental reliance, or actual tangible harm,” meaning, that under Spokeo, the plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury.

The plaintiff, meanwhile, countered that she did suffer a concrete injury because the voicemails “infringed upon her concrete interest in being reminded that any future communications with RSI will be adversarial in nature.”

Attempting to argue that the omission was not material, the defendant sought to dismiss the case, but the judge ruled a least sophisticated consumer “would not necessarily know the ‘important message’ related to attempting to collect a debt from Driesen or that any information obtained from Driesen during a subsequent call would be used for the purpose of attempting to collect the debt.”

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