A District Court judge in Michigan has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it reported to a credit bureau that the investigation into a disputed debt had been completed even though the plaintiff “still disputed the debt.”
A copy of the ruling in the case of Foster v. Afni, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff did not respond to a collection letter sent by the defendant in an attempt to collect a debt. Five months later, the plaintiff obtained a copy of her credit report and saw that the debt was being reported. Five months after that, the plaintiff contacted the defendant and disputed the debt. The defendant reported the debt as being disputed with the credit bureau. After concluding its investigation, it sent a letter to the plaintiff saying it had verified the validity of the account. The defendant also reported the update to the credit bureau, using the appropriate compliance condition code.
A month after she was sent the letter, the plaintiff looked at her credit report again, and saw that the debt was being reported as “Dispute resolved; reported by grantor.” Instead of contacting the defendant, the plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendant violated the FDCPA because “it knew or should have known that even though Defendant concluded its investigation, Plaintiff still disputed the debt.”
Even though he ruled that the plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury and thus does not have standing to sue, Judge Terrence Berg of the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, goes into great detail outlining why the defendant could not have violated the FDCPA because the plaintiff never reiterated her dispute upon the completion of the investigation.
“Plaintiff concedes she did not respond to the results of Defendant’s investigation or otherwise give Defendant any indication that she disputed the results of AFNI’s investigation,” Judge Berg wrote.