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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Court says debt collector’s name doesn't violate FDCPA

Courts Debt Collection FDCPA Unsophisticated Debtor

Courts

On June 18, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington granted summary judgment in favor of a debt collector, concluding the debt collector did not violate the FDCPA by using the name “State Collection Service.” The class action alleged the debt collector’s name “gave the false impression that the debt collection company was in some way associated with the State of Washington in violation of the FDCPA.” The debt collector moved for summary judgment. Upon review of the debt collector’s written and oral communications with the plaintiff, the court noted that using the term, “State” in its name, or omitting the term “Inc.” from its name are not deceptive or misleading as a matter of law. Moreover, the court stated, “even if [the debt collectors]’s use of the term ‘State’ or omission of ‘Inc.’ could be construed as faintly misleading, it was not a material misrepresentation that affected Plaintiff’s ability to ‘intelligently choose’ her response to the collection notice.” Additionally, because all of the debt collector’s communications identified the original creditor and the amount of the debt, the court found that “the least sophisticated debtor would not be misled by [the debt collector]’s use of the name ‘State Collection Service.’”

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