Collector Not Obligated to Notify Creditor of Dispute, Judge Rules

A District Court judge in Oklahoma has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case, ruling the defendant did not violate the statute because it failed to notify the original creditor that the debt had been disputed by the plaintiff.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Robinson v. Works & Lentz can be accessed by clicking here.

Background: The plaintiff checked his credit report via Credit Karma and noticed a debt that was owed to a healthcare provider. The plaintiff disputed the debt and the defendant notified the credit reporting agencies that the debt was being disputed. The defendant did not notify the creditor, however, and the plaintiff alleged that such an oversight was a violation of Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA.

The Ruling: Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA prohibits the communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a debt is disputed. But there is nothing in that provision of the FDCPA that says the original creditor needs to be notified, noted Judge Charles B. Goodwin of the District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

  • The plaintiff claimed the defendant violated the provision if it had any communication with the original creditor and chose not to convey the dispute.
  • Not communicating a debt is being disputed is a violation of the FDCPA, but said communication “must occur in the course of a communication of credit information in order to be actionable,” Judge Goodwin ruled.

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