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Favorable Federal Opinion on FDCPA

An interesting and consumer friendly opinion was delivered recently by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the matter of Connie Bishop v. Rose, Earle & Bonan, P.A. The Plaintiff in the case was a typical consumer and the target of debt collection activities. Rose, Earle & Bonan, P.A. were a law firm who attempted to collect on a debt from Ms. Bishop. Federal law, specifically 15 U.S.C. 1692g requires that within five days of the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of a debt, a debt collector must send a written notice with certain information. The content of the notice is specifically prescribed by 1692g but debt collectors frequently mess it up, either by changing the language, not including all of the required disclosures or by adding new requirements not in the code. One of the requirements of 1692g is that a debt collector must state that “upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.”

In the Bishop case, the law firm failed to note that request from the consumer had to be in writing, so the consumer filed an FDCPA action. In response to the FDCPA case the law firm argued that they had not violated the FDCPA by failing to include the proper notice requirement, rather, they could on their own waive the requirement that such a notification be in writing, so if for example the consumer had made the notification in person or over the phone, the law firm would have responded as if the request was in writing. The law firm essentially argued they were making it easier on the consumer by removing the “in writing” requirement. This is an issue of law which has been raised many times in local county courts but rarely reached the Federal level. The Eleventh Circuit handed down a consumer friendly ruling, holding that the law firm could not voluntarily waive portions of the notice requirement. This ruling is great for our firm, we frequently file lawsuits against debt collectors who fail to satisfy all of the requirements of 1692g.

This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local and federal laws may vary.

  • ABC News
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • CBS 4
  • CNN
  • Daily Business Review
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • Florida Trend's - Florida Legal Elite 2014
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • NBC News
  • National Consumer Law Center
  • The New York Times
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
  • Avvo
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