Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Balance Discrepancy

A note to plaintiffs everywhere — if you are going to sue a collection agency for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because a collection letter does not identify the original creditor properly, do not indicate that the debt is being disputed because the care you received was “inadequate.”

A District Court judge in Illinois has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the FDCPA because it incorrectly identified the name of the creditor and because it sent a follow-up letter requesting more information after the debt had been disputed.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Markakos v. Medicredit can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter that sought to collect $1,830.56 on behalf of a creditor identified as “Northwest Community 2NDS.” The plaintiff, through her attorney, sent a letter back to the defendant disputing the debt. The defendant sent a letter back to the plaintiff seeking more information and warned, “Please be aware that if the additional information is not provided in a timely manner, you may be held responsible for the full balance due.” The letter also included a different balance — $407.00 — than was noted in the original letter. That led the plaintiff to file suit.

The defendant first argued that plaintiff failed to “cite any authority for the assertion that a legal name, common name, or acronym of an entity authorized to do business in Illinois is required under the FDCPA.” The plaintiff never alleged she was confused by the name of the creditor; in fact, one of her reasons for disputing the debt was the “inadequate care” she received. How could she challenge the level of care if she did not know who the creditor was, asked Judge Ronald Guzman of the District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois.

The plaintiff also failed to articulate her standing to sue on the grounds that there was a discrepancy in the balance in the second letter because she likely never saw it, since it was sent to her attorney, Judge Guzman noted.

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