Judge Denies MTD in Hunstein Copycat Case

A District Court judge in Washington has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly communicating information about a debt with an unauthorized third party that printed and mailed a collection letter to the plaintiff, ruling that the language of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act “bars debt collectors from communicating consumer-debt related information to mail vendors” which could be a blow to anyone defending itself against Hunstein claims across the country.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Jacklin v. Enhanced Recovery Service can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant and noticed that the return address did not match the address of the defendant. The plaintiff determined that the letter was ultimately sent by a third party and filed suit, accusing the defendant of violating Section 1692c(b) of the FDCPA.

The defendant argued that it did not “communicate” with the vendor in question, but Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. of the District Court for the Eastern District of Washington determined that transmitting information about the plaintiff’s debt met his definition of communication and that conveying information to a “medium” such as a mail vendor is not one of the exceptions under 1692c(b) that prohibits communication with anyone other than the consumer or his or her attorney.

The defendant also argued that the existence of an agency relationship between itself and the vendor existed and that disclosures to the vendor were protected. Again, looking at the statute, Judge Mendoza noted that letter vendors were not one of the agents cited in the FDCPA.

The defendant even tried to point out that the CFPB has approved the use of outside vendors to send collection communications, but Judge Mendoza was not moved, saying “the Court will not opine on the CFPB’s regulatory priorities and will certainly not assume from its inaction in this area that it supports the practice.”

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is part of a series that is sponsored by WebRecon. WebRecon identifies serial …

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