A District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by failing to inform the plaintiff whether the amount listed in a collection letter is the actual amount of the debt that was due.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Taubenfliegel v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter that stated the balance due was $3,166.52 and read, in part:
As of the date of this letter, you owe the above stated New Balance amount. Because of interest and/or other charges that may vary from day to day, the amount due on the day you pay may be greater. Hence, if you pay the amount shown above, an adjustment may be necessary after your payment is received. For further information, you may write to our office or call the telephone number within this communication.
The defendant argued that the letter should not be construed as violating the FDCPA because it used the safe harbor language provided by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Avila v. Riexinger & Associates LLC.
The plaintiff argued the letter violated the FDCPA because it did not separate what portion of the debt was principal and what was interest, what ‘other charges’ may apply, and what the interest rate was.
Because the letter referenced the total, present amount due and because it used the safe harbor language, the judge ruled the plaintiff failed to plausibly plead the letter violated Section 1692e of the FDCPA.