Debt collectors are conduits — vessels trying to help original creditors recover unpaid debts. Oftentimes, the creditors will make requests or want certain offers included in letters sent to individuals. What happens when a creditor wants to make an offer as a means of trying to get an individual to repay a debt? …
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 sending a collection letter that offered the plaintiff an application for additional credit from the original creditor if the plaintiff paid off the balance on the debt being collected.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Altman v. Zwicker & Associates can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant sent the plaintiff a collection letter seeking to collect on an unpaid debt owed to American Express. The letter included a section that was titled, “Opportunity to Regain Card Membership Call for Details.” The section stated, “American Express has authorized us to make you a special offer. American Express values your previous relationship and would like to offer you the opportunity to regain Card Membership. You have been selected to receive an Optima Card application if you pay your balance in full on the American Express account referenced above.”
The plaintiff filed suit, alleging that the letter violated Section 1692e of the FDCPA because there was no “selection” process and there was no expiration date on the offer.
The plaintiff had two other accounts with American Express at the time that the letter was sent, and the existence of the other accounts would have made him ineligible for the offer that was being made, he claims. That proves there was no pre-selection process. But his “circular reasoning” and “naked assertion” did nothing to prove there was no pre-selection process, ruled Judge Vincent Briccetti of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. “Moreover, even if plaintiff had plausibly pleaded the statement about the selection process was false, deceptive, or misleading, plaintiff has not plausibly pleaded the existence or non-existence of a preselection process was material to the least sophisticated consumer’s decision to pay or challenge the debt at issue.”