The FDCPA's Least Sophisticated Consumer Standard

27 Jun The FDCPA's Least Sophisticated Consumer Standard

When considering whether there is deception in debt collection communications, the courts apply an objective standard of deception.  It is known as the “least sophisticated” or “unsophisticated” consumer or debtor standard.  There is no requirement of proof of actual deception of the consumer who files a FDCPA claim to establish debt collector liability.  The courts have rejected a “reasonable consumer” standard in favor of the “least sophisticated consumer.”  Although the standard is objective, the “least sophisticated consumer” standard is lower than examining whether a debt collection communication would deceive or mislead a reasonable debtor.  The question is not whether the plaintiff consumer was deceived or misled but rather whether an unsophisticated consumer would have been misled.  Courts have reasoned that the purpose for the lower standard is to ensure that the FDCPA protects all consumers…from the gullible to the shrewd.

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