02 Sep How Does the 3rd Circuit Determine FDCPA Violations
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, found at 15 U.S.C. 1692, addresses abusive debt collection practices. It is a remedial statute passed by Congress in 1977 to prevent deception in the process. Courts interpreting this law apply a standard of whether the communication would deceive or mislead the least sophisticated debtor. This is an objectively low standard that protects all consumers, the shrewd and the most gullible, from deceptive collection practices.
To reach a decision, the Court determines whether a debt collection letter can be reasonably read by that least sophisticated debtor to have two or more different meanings, one of which is inaccurate.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals visited this issue in Rosenau v. Unifund, and decided two issues: one issue relating to false representation or implication that a letter is from an attorney, in violation of 1692e(3), that I discuss in Debt Collection Letter May Not Falsely Imply it is from Lawyer; and another issue under 1692e(10) prohibiting any false representation or deceptive means to collect a debt, that I discuss in A Legal Department Without Lawyers.
Andy Miofsky, Esq.
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