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Judge Grants MSJ in FDCPA Case Over Agency’s Name

A District Court judge in Washington has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was sued in a class-action for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the company’s name gave the false impression that the company was in some way associated with the state of Washington.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Born v. State Collection Service, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff incurred a debt to a healthcare facility. After making payments qualifying for charity care, the unpaid balance was $60.47. The plaintiff called the facility regarding the debt and was told that the account had been placed with a collection agency. When the plaintiff asked for the name of the agency, she was told it was “State Collections.” The plaintiff contacted the defendant, and a representative of the defendant said during the call, “I do have to state that I am a debtor collector with State Collections Service and this call is an attempt to collect a debt..” The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant, and called the defendant three weeks later to pay off the debt. The following day, the plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendant violated Sections 1692e(1) and 1692e(2)(A) by falsely representing it was affiliated with the United States.

The plaintiff alleged that by using the name “State Collection Service,” the defendant intended to make it look like it was affiliated with a state government.

But because the defendant represented that it was a debt collector and that it was working on behalf of the healthcare facility and specified the correct amount that was owed, the defendant did nothing improper, ruled Judge Thomas O. Rice of the District Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

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