Every week, courts around the United States issue decisions addressing aspects of civil UDAAP claims. In an effort to illuminate the UDAAP standards, below is a sampling of some of this week’s UDAAP decisions on the meaning of unfair, deceptive, and abusive.
An attorney acting as a debt collector violated the FDCPA by sending a letter to a consumer threatening litigation, even though the attorney provided the required statutory rights notice. The First Circuit Court of Appeals held that the FDCPA requires collection letters to not “breed confusion.” Applying the unsophisticated consumer test, the First Circuit determined that the attorney debt-collector created confusion when it threatened litigation, and those threats overshadowed the debt collector’s required recitation of the consumer’s rights under the FDCPA. Pollard v. Law Office of Mandy L. Spaulding, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
A debt collector did not violate the FDCPA by sending a second validation letter after an initial letter had been sent setting out the consumer’s validation rights. The court held that courts are “not concerned with technical falsehoods that mislead no one, but instead with genuinely misleading statements that may frustrate a consumer’s ability to intelligently choose his or her response.” Even though the debt collector’s second notice was technically false, the court determined that it did not violate the FDCPA because the notice did not affect the consumer’s ability to make an intelligent decision regarding the debt. Philower v. Express Recovery Services & Edwin B. Parry, United States District Court for the District of Utah.
A debt collector was not liable under the FDCPA after sending a letter to a consumer who alleged that the debt collector failed to include the creditor to whom the debt was owed. The collector’s letter contained the collector’s reference to the creditor as the collector’s client, and the court determined that it was clear from this association to whom the debt was owed. The court also found that there was no deception when the collector referred to the consumer’s account number as both an “original” number and the “client” account number. Wright v. Phillips & Cohen Associates, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Note that this Weekly UDAAP Standards Report serves to highlight only some of the many weekly developments in the law around these standards.
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