Wednesday, June 17, 2009

consumer - debt collection - information from third parties

Smith v. NCO Financial Systems - ED Pa. - June 12, 2009 - class action

Debt collector sent a collection notice with the following privacy statement.

InformationWe Collect
We collect non-public personal information about you fromthe following sources:
• From you on applications or other forms, over the telephone, in face-toface meetings and via the Internet. Examples of information we receive from you include your name and address, telephone number, social security number, employment information, credit history and other financial information. . . .
• From employers and others to verify information you have given to us.

Plaintiff alleges that this statement “misleads the consumer into believing that third parties such as her boss, co-workers or others may be contacted and asked to provide information concerning the consumer, when the FDCPA forbids such third party contact.”

In light of these allegations, Plaintiff has stated claims under Sections 1692e and 1692e(5) upon which relief can be granted.

As explained supra, debt collectors contacting third parties to obtain anything other than location information about the consumer is prohibited by the FDCPA. Upon reading the Privacy Notice, the least sophisticated debtor could believe that Defendants could and would legally contact employers and other persons to verify non-public personal information such as one’s social security number, credit history and other financial information. The least sophisticated debtor could also believe that Defendants are allowed to verify a much broader range of employment information than is actually permitted under the FDCPA.

As this reading of the Privacy Notice is neither “bizarre or idiosyncratic,” Plaintiff has adequately alleged a violation of Sections 1692e and 1692e(5) of the FDCPA, and the Court will not grant Defendant’s Motion for judgment on the same