Judge Dismisses FDCPA Suit Over Lack of Proper Creditor Identification in Letter

A District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit after it was accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not explicitly using the word “client” or “creditor” when referring to the creditor to whom a debt was owed in a collection letter.

A copy of the ruling in Gor v. Universal Fidelity can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant sent a collection letter to the plaintiff. In three spots on the letter, it says “Re: Bradford Authenticated.” As well, above the salutation line, there is another notation that reads, “Product Purchased: Brady.” The letter also mentions that the agency is collecting on behalf of the “above-referenced client.”

The product was a commemorative coin that was purchased from a company called Bradford Authenticated. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter violated Section 1692g and 1692e of the FDCPA by not clearly identifying the creditor to whom the debt was owed.

The plaintiff argued that a least sophisticated consumer might not understand who the actual creditor was because the letter does not explicitly use the words “client” or “creditor” when referring to Bradford Authenticated.

During oral arguments, the plaintiff’s attorney hypothesized that a consumer might think the debt had been transferred to some else. But the judge wasn’t buying the argument.

“Moreover, it is difficult to imagine that a truly unsophisticated consumer would contemplate the scenario that the plaintiff suggests. The unsophisticated consumer would doubtless read this letter and conclude the obvious: that the above-referenced client was in fact the client referenced above — Bradford Authenticated,” write Judge Ann Donnelly from the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. “The letter in this case, read in its entirety, is clear about the relationship between the defendant collection agency and the current creditor, and provides a way for the debtor to satisfy his debt.”

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