As I have stated, on numerous occasions, I am not a lawyer. That being said, this case seems to — to my non-legal eyes — to be something that doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of needing a Court of Appeals to weigh in on, but, hey, they did, so I am going to let you know about it. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case against a creditor, agreeing with the lower court that the creditor is not subject to the statute.
The Background: The plaintiff filed a complaint earlier this year, alleging the creditor violated the FDCPA by communicating with the plaintiff about an unverified alleged debt. The plaintiff alleged that she and the defendant had “zero business transactions” together prior to the filing of the complaint, but did include correspondence between herself and the creditor going back as far as 2015 to her complaint.
- That correspondence included the creditor referring to the plaintiff as a “customer” and indicated that the creditor financed the plaintiff’s purchase of a used car. The plaintiff also submitted a letter from the creditor that was sent to her, letting her know she was late on her payments and her account was being charged off.
The Legal Stuff: The District Court judge granted a request from the plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis and then dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim because the plaintiff failed to allege the defendant is a collector subject to the FDCPA. The plaintiff appealed.
- On appeal, the Court listed the different components required for an entity to meet the FDCPA’s definition of a debt collector and agreed with the District Court judge that the allegations demonstrated the creditor’s communications concerned a debt owed to itself in connection with the purchase of a used vehicle.