Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Different Amounts in Letter

A District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by referencing different amounts for the “Total Due as of Charge-off” and the “Total Due” in a collection letter without explaining why the two amounts were different.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Kleinman v. Frontline Asset Strategies can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant in regard to an unpaid credit card debt that had been charged off by the original creditor and subsequently sold to another company. The letter included a table that had the following entries: the “Total Due as of Charge-off” was listed as $12,939.96, and that the “Total Due” was listed as $12,771.57. But the letter did not explain the discrepancy between the two figures. The first line of the collection letter stated: “Your account has been placed with our office for collection. You owe $12771.57.”

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter violated Section 1692e(2)(A) of the FDCPA by mis-stating the character, amount, or legal status of a debt.

Admitting that the letter “presents the lowest passing example of a sufficient debt collection notice,” Judge Brian Cogan of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, lauded the defendant for using an “easy-to-read table” to display the financial information associated with the debt, rather than “a list of seemingly unprioritized line items.” Also, by listing the “Total Due” at the bottom of the table, the letter looks like a receipt one might get at a restaurant or convenience store, Judge Cogan noted.

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