Tuesday, July 17, 2007

consumer - debt collection - letter not false, deceptive, or misleading

Rosenau v. Unifund Corp. - ED Pa. 0 June 28, 2007


A letter from a debt collector is not false, deceptive or misleading where it says that "if we are unable to resolve this issue within 35 days we may refer this matter to an attorney in your area for legal consideration." Plaintff alleged that it was false, etc., because it was, in fact, not prepared, reviewed, and/or sent by a legal department or a lawyer but could reasonably be read that way, from the perspective of the least sophisticated debtor (LSD).

The FDCPA, 15 USC 1692 et seq., prevents liability for "bizarre or idiosyncratic interpretations of collection notices by preserving a quotient of reasonableness and presuming a basic level of understanidng and willingness to read with care."

Here, plaintiff's intepretation was bizarre and idiosyncratic, in urging that the LSD would believe the letter came from an attorney, when in fact it did not. Even an LSD could not reasonably interpret the letter as having been written or reviewed by an attorney. There is no other reasonable intepretation and therefore the letter is not false, deceptive or misleading.