Pennsylvania Court Affirms Right of Debt Collectors to Deceive the Public

debt collectors

You have received countless “spoofed” calls from telemarketers, scams and outright criminals who fake their phone number as being a local number so you pick it up. I have received countless calls from scam calls. Everyone has. While different sources vary on the amount, today anywhere from about a third to a half of all phone calls in the U.S. are from various sorts of scams, most of which spoof local numbers. This is an issue that many people feel pretty strongly about and I do not think it hyperbole to say that these calls are a scourge. Many Americans will no longer pick up phone calls from numbers they do not recognize as the scam calls they receive outnumber real calls.

Which makes it all the more upsetting to see a truly ridiculous decision come from a court in Pennsylvania in the case of Mendoza v. Diversified Consultants, No. 18-2005, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101386 (E.D. Pa. June 18, 2019). While there is no binding precedent directly on point on this issue in Florida, given the way that Florida courts feel about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), it seems unlikely that a similar ruling would come out of a Florida court. This decision has no real value as precedent in Florida. So, what happened in the Mendoza case?

Mendoza v. Diversified Consultants

In the case, a debt collector not located in Pennsylvania called an alleged debtor in Pennsylvania to try to collect a debt and “spoofed” a number local to where the debtor was. Several different portions of the FDCPA forbid debt collectors from engaging in false, deceptive or misleading conduct, making false statements and acting in a deceptive manner. Debt collectors do not have to be “nice” but they are not allowed to mislead people. The Pennsylvania court ruled that spoofing their number did not technically count as “deceptive” under the FDCPA and further held that using a fake name on caller ID is not deceptive. One portion of the FDCPA explicitly forbids debt collectors from attempting to collect a debt while lying about their identity, which makes this holding even more absurd.

Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems. We have saved over 1,800 homes from foreclosure, eliminated $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations, negligence and fraud.

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