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Siwulec v. JM Adjustment Services, LLC

2011 WL 1322267 (U.S. Dist. Ct. D. N.J. 2011) (Unpublished)

FDCPA — A company or agent who merely delivers a collection letter or delivers contact instructions is not a “debt collector” under law because such activities are simply akin to those of a messenger service.

A woman alleged that a company’s representative hand-delivered an envelope to her home. It contained a letter bearing the name of her mortgage lender. The letter indicated that the mortgage lender was concerned about her past due status; reminded her to pay her obligations; asked her to contact the lender; and told her to remit payments to a certain address. She also alleged that the company’s representative had dropped documents on her lawn, and they appeared to contain the company’s instructions to its agents. She filed a class-action complaint alleging that the company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by failing to comply with the disclosure requirements mandated by law. The company moved to dismiss, arguing that it did not qualify as a debt collection agency subject to the requirements of the FDCPA.

The Court noted that a debt collector, by law, is a person in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due. The individual argued that the company was an indirect debt collector. Here, however, the company performed only two acts: personally delivering a letter and dropping instructional documents. The delivery was not debt collection because it did not mention the company at all, let alone indicate that the company had any role with the collection of the debt. The letter simply referred the individual to the lender. Thus, the Court found that the company was simply akin to a messenger service and dismissed the individual’s complaint.

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