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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court notes distinction between definition of “accounts” and “receivables”

Courts FDCPA Debt Collection Class Action

Courts

On August 25, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey denied a defendant debt collector’s motion to compel arbitration in an FDCPA action, ruling that the defendant never purchased the rights to enforce arbitration. In so holding, the Court stated that the words “accounts” and “receivables” mean different things and that purchasing a receivable does not guarantee all the rights assigned to the account. The court originally denied the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration to allow for limited discovery to determine whether a valid arbitration agreement existed between the parties. The defendant argued that the agreements governing the accounts require that all claims be subject to arbitration on an individual basis and that it is entitled to arbitration since it is an agent of the purchasing creditor and the purchasing creditor purchased the rights to enforce arbitration from the original creditor. The plaintiffs countered that the right to compel arbitration was not transferred because the purchase agreements only transferred the rights under the “receivables” and not the “accounts.” The court agreed, noting that under the plain meaning of the purchase agreements, the purchasing creditor did not purchase, and was not assigned, the right to compel arbitration.

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