Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Dispute Suit Over Plaintiff’s Lack of Intent to Dispute

Saying in a deposition that he had no plans to dispute a debt and admitting he just “scanned” over a collection letter, a District Court judge in Pennsylvania has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff’s lawsuit, in which he accused the defendant of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by indicating in a letter that a debt could be disputed over the phone — lacked standing.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Pozzuolo v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant. The letter included the statutory text from the FDCPA for disputing a debt, but also advised that a phone call was sufficient to file a dispute. The plaintiff testified during his deposition that he “scan[ned]” the letter and forwarded it to his law firm. He did not contact the defendant or any of the credit bureaus after receiving the letter.

Despite there being a violation of Section 1692g of the FDCPA by indicating that a debt could be disputed over the phone, the plaintiff “cannot show actual harm or a material risk of harm,” wrote Judge Timothy Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania “By his own admission, he was not ‘hurt as a result of receiving this letter.’ Indeed, he merely ‘scan[ned] over’ the letter before forwarding it to counsel. Although the letter stated that he could call or write PRA to dispute the letter, [the plaintiff] did neither. Nor did he dispute the debt with any of the credit reporting agencies. He had no reason to do so. He acknowledges the debt and the amount. Thus, because he never intended to dispute the debt, the violation did not harm or present a material risk of harm to” the plaintiff.

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