Judge Grants Motion for Judgment in FDCPA Case Over Creditor Identification in Letter

A District Court judge in Indiana has granted a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings after it was sued for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it did not adequately identify the name of the current creditor in a collection letter.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Glass v. Afni can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter which identified multiple entities along with the defendant. In a section “What is my Account Information” there was an entry for “Creditor: Affirm Operational Loans III Trust (Serviced by Affirm)” and at the bottom of the letter, there was an entry: “Original Creditor: Cross River Bank, 885 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07066.” The plaintiff argued that the letter did not expressly explain which entity was the creditor to whom the debt was owed or what the difference was between “Creditor” and “Original Creditor” in the letter.

The defendant argued that by identifying Affirm Operational Loans III Trust as the creditor in the header of the letter and referencing that “Your Affirm Operational Loans III Trust has been referred to Afni, Inc. for collection” in the body of the letter, it is pretty clear to whom the debt was owed.

“Although the letter does not use the phrase ‘current creditor’ the letter identifies the original creditor as Cross River Bank and identifies the only other creditor as Affirm Operational Loans III Trust,” wrote Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the District Court of the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. “The ‘basic logical deduction and inference’ from the letter is that the only other listed creditor is the current creditor.

“Furthermore, the collection letter does not use other terms such as ‘client,’ ‘owner,’ ‘assignee,’ or ‘transferee’ that could lead to confusion about the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed.”

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