NDCA Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Creditor ID in Letter

A District Court judge in California has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it identified the creditor and the original creditor in a letter, but did not identify the current creditor to whom the debt was owed, with the judge ruling that she lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff only made “scant” allegations detailing how the plaintiff was allegedly deceived.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Lenzini v. DCM Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff had a retail credit card account that was sent to the defendant for collection. The defendant sent the plaintiff a letter, listing Capital One as the creditor and the original creditor and referencing the retailer — Kohl’s — as the defendant’s client and further identified the debt belonging to “the Kohl’s Credit Card.”

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the lack of identification of the “current creditor” made it impossible for her to determine whether she owed her debt to Kohl’s or to Capital One. She was further confused by the instructions in the letter to pay the defendant instead of Capital One, which led her to not pay the debt.

But in her complaint, the plaintiff does not “adequately explain” how it was confusing about to whom the debt was owed because the letter specifically references Capital One as the creditor and the original creditor. The plaintiff failed to demonstrate “any risk of actual confusion resulting from the letter,” wrote Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the District Court for the Northern District of California.

Going a step further, Judge Rogers also ruled the plaintiff failed to state a claim in her complaint, because all someone needed was “common sense” to understand “that Capital One is the current creditor when the letter is read as a whole.”

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