There is no doubt that consumers are often confused by the information that is sent to them by debt collectors. It is the very reason why courts have instituted the least sophisticated consumer standard, a lens through which judges can determine whether even the village idiot would understand what is being shared with him or her. This might be the first case where a letter validating a debt, which included copies of the credit application and 12 months of credit card statements was mistaken for a collection letter, which led to the lawsuit in question.
A District Court judge in Florida has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not properly responding to a request to validate a debt.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Flores v. Debski & Associates can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant sent a letter to the plaintiff on Aug. 1, 2018. Three weeks later, the plaintiff sent a validation letter to the defendant. Three weeks after that, the defendant send another letter to the plaintiff, which the plaintiff alleged was an attempt to collect on the debt without providing any of the validation information.
The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the second letter violated Sections 1692e, 1692e(5), 1692e(10), 1692f, 1692f(1), and 1692g(b) of the FDCPA.
But, the second letter from the defendant did include validation information, including copies of the credit application and a year’s worth of statements. The plaintiff alleged that the documentation provided by the defendant was not sufficient proof of the debt.
In this case, the plaintiff’s argument rested on the allegations that he was not provided with the original account level documents, which was not enough to convince Judge Beth Bloom of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida to deny the defendant’s motion to dismiss. “Although the Defendants’ verification letter did not include all of the items that Plaintiff requested and otherwise failed to meet his satisfaction, the letter did contain all of the information required by statute,” she wrote.