Acknowledging that a collection letter only has to be correct at the time it was sent and not include “extra assurance” that what is in the letter will not change in the future, a District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was sued for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it did not state that interest and late fees were accruing on an unpaid debt, even though they weren’t.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Roman v. RGS Financial can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant in relation to an unpaid credit card debt. The letter offered a number of different payment and settlement options. The plaintiff subsequently filed suit, alleging the letters violated Sections 1692e and 1692g of the FDCPA “because, in essence, it failed to disclose interest, late fees, and/or other fees were accruing at the time the Defendant sent the Letter.”
Both parties filed motions for summary judgment, and while there were some legal technicalities that could have precluded the judge considering the plaintiff’s motion, he did so anyway, while also looking at the defendant’s motion.
Relying on affidavits from two of the defendant’s employees that said it was their policy never to add late fees, other fees, or interest on top of an account it received while it was collecting on it, the judge granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. After all, the defendant is not obligated to say what might happen at some point in the future, should the account be placed with another agency.
“Most importantly, this fact is undisputed. The Ryalls and Hensen Affidavits are the only evidence regarding the actual status of the Debt; the Plaintiff presents no evidence showing that the interest and late fees were in fact accruing or that paying the amounts stated in the Letter would not have discharged her debt,” wrote Judge Arthur Spatt of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. “As a result, the Court finds that the Defendant accurately stated the amount of the Debt.”