Friday, June 08, 2012

debt collection - misleading - credit bureau v. debt collector

Durr v. Rochester Credit Center - ED Pa. - June 4, 2012

A collection letter that reads: "The CREDIT BUREAU Collection Division" and ends, at the bottom:: “**THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT BY A DEBT COLLECTOR AND ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE” may violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Defendant's motion for summary judgment denied.

With respect to the general claim that the letter was deceptive because it suggested a credit reporting agency was involved in the collection effort, whether or not a collection letter creates a misleading impression is judged from the perspective of the “least sophisticated consumer.” Brown v. Card Services Ctr., 464 F.3d 450, 453 (3d Cir. 2006).

If a letter “can be reasonably read to have two or more meanings, one of which is inaccurate,” and misleading it is deceptive. Rosenau v. Unifund, 539 F.3d 218, 222 (3d Cir. 2008).

Here, the evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, is that the letter in question is equally susceptible to different interpretations, one of which is at odds with the other.

With respect to the more specific claim that the letter suggests that a consumer reporting agency is involved with the collection of the debt, a genuine issue of material fact exists.