On November 5, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held that allegations that a debt collector incorrectly reported a debt through a Metro 2 Format to one or more CRAs were insufficient to state a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
In Koehler v. Waypoint Res. Grp., LLC, plaintiff Kerry Koehler received internet and/or cable service from Bright House Networks, LLC and became delinquent on her account. Subsequently, Charter Communications purchased Bright House. Defendant debt collector Waypoint entered into an agreement to collect account receivables, including the debt owed by Koehler. Waypoint identified Charter Communications as the “original creditor” when electronically reporting Koehler’s debt to the CRAs through a Metro 2 Format. Koehler alleged that Waypoint should have listed the original creditor as Bright House instead of Charter Communications, and that this was an error, constituting a “false and misleading representation” or “unfair practice” under the FDCPA.
In finding that this did not constitute an FDCPA violation, the Court agreed with precedent from the Middle District of Florida that “allegations that a creditor did not follow industry standards or otherwise erroneously reported information to a CRA [are] insufficient to state a claim under the FDCPA.”
However, caution should be used when relying upon this ruling, in light of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s May 7, 2019 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. A proposed change to the FDCPA would prohibit a debt collector from furnishing data on a consumer to a CRA prior to communicating with a consumer. More information on proposed changes to the FDCPA can be found here.
Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor developments in this area.