Appeals Court Upholds Dismissal of FDCPA Case Over Use of Letter Vendor, Lack of Disclosure in Letter

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has upheld the dismissal of a lower court’s ruling in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case in which the defendant was accused of disclosing the existence of the debt by using an outside vendor to print and mail the letter and because it failed to disclose that the amount of the underlying debt may increase.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Shields v. Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received three letters from the defendant in regard to an outstanding student loan debt. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendant violated Section 1692c(b) of the FDCPA by communicating information about the debt to the vendor that printed and mailed the letters and Sections 1692e(2)(A), 1692e(10), and 1692g(a)(1) by misrepresenting the amount of the debt because it did not indicate that the amount of the debt may increase.

Using the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, the panel of Tenth Circuit judges found that one private entity knowing about her debt is not a public disclosure of private facts which does not rise to the level of sustaining a concrete injury needed to sue in federal court.

Regarding the substance of the letters, the plaintiff never claimed that the absence of the disclosure in question “caused her to do anything,” the Appeals Court wrote. As anyone who follows legal opinions in the collection and recovery industry will by now know, “confusion and misunderstanding are insufficient to confer standing,” the Appeals Court ruled.

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