Certified Credit & Collection Bureau (“CCCB”) sent a collection letter to Delia Rodriguez seeking payment of $29.88 for an unpaid medical debt. CCCB’s letter referred to the creditor as its “client” and did not explicitly state that the client was the creditor to whom the debt was owed.
Rodriguez brought a putative class action in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against CCCB, alleging a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Specifically, Rodriguez argued that the letter failed to identify the creditor to whom the debt is owed, in violation of Sections 1692g (prescribing contents of debt collector’s initial communications to debtor) and 1692g (prohibiting false and deceptive practices). CCCB moved to dismiss.
Applying the “least sophisticated debtor standard,” the Court noted that the letter did not list multiple parties or set forth a potentially confusing assignment, as had occurred in other cases where potential confusion was found. Moreover, the Court noted other decisions where a debt collector’s reference to its “client” was found to be sufficient to convey to the debtor that the “client” was the creditor. The Court noted that this was particularly true where the letter provides the consumer’s account number and remaining balance, as did CCCB’s letter. Thus, the Court found that the letter “unambiguously” identified the creditor to whom the debt was owed.
A copy of the opinion can be accessed here.