Judge Denies MTD in FDCPA Case Over Multiple Addresses on Payment Coupon

A District Court judge in New York has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit that claims it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it included two addresses on the coupon portion of a collection letter and did not specify to which address a payment should be sent.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Adler v. Penn Credit Corp. can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant. The letter included a detachable payment coupon, which had two addresses. One address was listed on the left side of the coupon and would be visible through a glassine window when the coupon was placed in the enclosed envelope that the defendant provided. The other address was listed on the right side of the coupon under general information about the defendant and the debt.

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter violated Section 1692e and 1692e(10) of the FDCPA by using false representations or deceptive means to attempt to collect on a debt. Acknowledging that at this “early stage” a plausible claim has been stated, Judge Kenneth Karas of the District Court for the Southern District of New York denied the motion to dismiss, but did say that discovery will clarify whether the possibility for confusion was material or not.

The lack of specific instructions detailing the address that the plaintiff should mail his payment to, when coupled with general directions such as “send payment in full in the enclosed envelope,” Judge Karas wrote, “could
plausibly “invite confusion.”

Judge Karas disagreed with the precedents used by the defendant in cases it felt were similar to this one. In one precedent — Saraci v. Convergent Outsourcing, Inc. — the payment coupon only had one address and listed that same address two other times in a letter and a second address was listed only once. In the other case — Park v. Forster & Garbus, LLP — the coupon did include two addresses, but one of them was the plaintiff’s and both were included in areas “typically designated for addresses and return addresses,” Judge Karas noted.

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