A District Court judge in Illinois has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it said it would not sue the plaintiff to collect a debt for which the statute of limitations had expired instead of saying it could not sue.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Rueda v. Midland Credit Management, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff saw that the defendant had obtained copies of her credit report for collection purposes, so she accessed the defendant’s payment portal for more information. The plaintiff was then presented with the following statement:
If you live in IL, this applies to you: The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt and how long a debt can appear on your credit report. Due to the age of this debt, we will not sue you for it or report payment or non-payment of it to a credit bureau. If you make a payment on this debt we will not use the payment to restart the time to sue you for this debt even if the law permits us to do so.
The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the statement violated Section 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA by using false, deceptive, and misleading statements to collect on a debt and using unfair or unconscionable means to collect. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but Judge Gary Feinerman of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, ruled that an unsophisticated consumer may be confused by the part of the statement that says “we will not sue you …”
It is “plausible,” Judge Fenierman wrote, that an unsophisticated consumer could be “confused” about whether the statute of limitations had expired or if the defendant was acting out of the goodness of its heart.