Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Settlement Offer in Letter

A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because settlement offers mentioned in an initial collection notice allegedly violated the 30-day dispute window.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Bernard v. Radius Global Solutions can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection notice from the defendant. The notice included the statutory language from the FDCPA, giving the plaintiff 30 days to dispute the debt or any portion thereof. But the letter also included an offer to settle the debt. The plaintiff could make three installment payments, with the first payment due in 45 days from the date of the letter, or make one single payment, also due within 45 days.

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter violated Sections 1692e and 1692g of the FDCPA because he was unsure whether the 45 day timeline to accept one of the settlement offers would be extended if the plaintiff disputed the debt.

To overshadow the validation period, the letter would need to create an offer that was inconsistent with that timeframe, noted Judge Jeffrey L. Schmel of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. And there was nothing in this letter that said that a payment had to be made within that window.

“The Letter clearly complies with the FDCPA and does not raise an ‘overshadowing’ or ‘inconsistency’ issue,” Judge Schmel wrote. “There is no inconsistency here that would lead Plaintiff to think he is required to pay the Debt off before the expiration of the 30-day period.”

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