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Appeals Court Upholds Ruling For Defendant in FDCPA Case Over Letter Referencing ‘N/A’ Interest

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a summary order has upheld a lower court’s ruling in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case in which a collection agency was sued for allegedly sending a letter that included false or deceptive representation when it denoted that both the Interest Accrued and Non-interest Charges & Fees were “N/A.”

A copy of the ruling in the case of Gissendanner v. Enhanced Recovery Company can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter that included line items in the header for Interest Accrued and Non-interest Charges & Fees. For both entries, the letter said the line items were “N/A” meaning they were not applicable. The plaintiff argued that the “N/A” references could indicate that the creditor removed the interest and fees from the underlying debt, which would be a false statement, according to the plaintiff, or that the creditor has not added any additional interest to the debt after placing the account in collections, which was true.

The District Court used the precedent in Taylor v. Financial Recovery Services, which was the correct precedent to use, according to the Appeals Court.

“…we conclude that where the debt is static, it is immaterial whether the ‘N/A’ language in this debt collection notice could be understood to mean that the underlying debt never accrued interest prior to placement in collections or that any accrued interest was forgiven, or to mean that the debt is not presently accruing interest in collections,” the Appeals Court wrote. “Indeed, if the collection notice in Taylor — allegedly subject to multiple interpretations as to whether the current debt was accruing interest — was not actionable under Section 1692e, the information conveyed here, allegedly subject to multiple interpretations as to whether the debt formerly accrued interest, is surely not actionable.”

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