SW Legal Educational Publishing

Debt Collection Letter Did Not Violate Requirements of FDCPA
Description Appeals court upheld trial court decision to dismiss a case filed by a consumer against a debt collection agency. The consumer incorrectly asserted that the letter she received from the debt collector violated the law by including language that overshadowed statutory protections.
Topic Consumer Protection
Key Words Debt Collection; Overshadowing
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Debt collector CRI sent the plaintiff a written validation notice, as required by the FDCPA, about the debt it was collecting. Plaintiff sued CRI, contending that the form collection letter she received violated the FDCPA because its language contradicts and "overshadows" the disclosures required by the Act. The district court dismissed the suit, holding that "even the most unsophisticated consumer" would understand the essence of the letter. Plaintiff appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The plaintiff claimed that the FDCPA was violated because the letter received about an overdue bill was confusing to an unsophisticated consumer. The letter does not violate the Act. It does not contradict the requirements of the Act, nor does it give incorrect information about the rights of the consumer. "Overshadowing occurs when the collection letter contains the FDCPA validation notice but that information is obscured or diminished by the letter's presentation or format. This is not such a case. All of the text, including the validation notice, appears in bold face and capital lettering on a single page." The fact that the letter states that the account is set for "immediate collection" and that CRI will use "aggressive collection procedures" does not mean the time limits or procedures under the Act are being violated.
Citation Marshall-Mosby v. Corporate Receivables, Inc., 194 F.3d 830 (7th Cir., 1999)

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