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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court concludes collection attempt on old debt did not violate FDPCA

Courts Debt Collection FDCPA Time-Barred Debt

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On July 11, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington granted a debt collector’s motion for summary judgment, concluding the attempted collection of an old debt did not violate the FDCPA. According to the opinion, a consumer filed a class action lawsuit against the debt collector alleging the collector violated the FDCPA by (i) “falsely representing the legal status of the debt”; and (ii) using “false representations and/or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect a debt,” when it sent a collection letter in March 2017 attempting to collect on a debt that allegedly incurred before 2009. The debt collector moved for summary judgment arguing that the consumer did not have standing and that the claim failed on the merits. The district court agreed with the debt collector, concluding that the consumer did not have standing to pursue the FDCPA claim because she did not incur any concrete injury, noting she made no claims that she was misled by the letter or confused about the status of her debt, nor did she pay on the debt or make a promise to pay. Moreover, the district court agreed that the debt collector adequately informed the consumer about the status of her debt, stating “[t]he letter clearly states that ‘[t]he law limits how long you can be sued on a debt’ and states that, ‘[d]ue to the age of this debt, we will not sue you for it[.]’” Lastly, the district court found that in order to comply with the FDCPA, the debt collectors were not required to inform consumers of the “supposed risks of partial payments or entering a payment plan.”

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