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Seventh Circuit rules debt collector entitled to summary judgment where plaintiff failed to produce evidence that collection letter would be misleading to “a substantial fraction of the population”

  • Written by Steel Rose

In a recent decision, Johnson v. Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a debt collector based on the plaintiff’s failure to present any evidence beyond her own “speculation” that a debt collection letter was misleading in violation of the FDCPA.

The debt collector had sent the plaintiff a series of collection letters regarding her delinquent debt with her wireless phone carrier.  The second letter contained a statement that her “delinquent account may be reported to the national credit bureaus,” three payment options for settling the debt, and a statement that paying the offered settlement amount would stop collection activity.  In her lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged the second letter was misleading in violation of FDCPA Section 1692e because (1) the statement that her delinquent account “may be reported” to the national credit bureaus implied future reporting, and by the time she received the letter, the collector had already reported the account, and (2) the statement that paying the offered settlement amount would stop collection activity amounted to a promise by the collector that if she took advantage of the first settlement option and paid by the date indicated, then the collector would not report her debt to the credit bureaus.  To read more, click here.

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