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Sosa v. Client Services, Inc.

2011 WL 5599937 (U.S. Dist. Ct. D. N.J. 2011) (Unpublished)

FDCPA — The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not require the current creditor to provide the name and address of the original creditor in its initial notice to a debtor.

A consumer sued a debt collector. She alleged that the debt collector did not comply with the notification requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1692 (FDCPA). Specifically, the consumer claimed that the debt collector had sent a deceptive notice in that it failed to disclose if the debt collector had been assigned the debt or had purchased it, did not advise her of her right to dispute the debt, and enticed her to concede that she owed the entire amount, leading her to believe that her only option was to pay the entire amount. The consumer also argued that the debt collector violated the FDCPA by contacting her directly, when it knew or should have known, that she was represented by an attorney. The debt collector moved to dismiss the complaint, which request was granted.

The FDCPA requires a debt collector to provide a consumer with written notice within five days after its initial communication with him or her. It must contain: (1) the amount of the debt; (2) the name and address of the creditor to whom it is owed; (3) a statement that unless the consumer notifies the debt collector within thirty days that he or she disputes the debt, it will be presumed valid; (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector, in writing, within thirty days that all or a portion of the debt is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt and provide the consumer with a copy; and (5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will give the consumer the name and address of the original creditor, if it is different from the current creditor. The notice must be communicated effectively, so that even an unsophisticated consumer would know to whom the debt is owed and to understand that he or she has a right to request the name of the original creditor.

The consumer claimed that the debt collector’s notice was insufficient because it misled her as to the identity of the current creditor and about her right to obtain the name of the original creditor. The Court disagreed, finding that the statute does not require the creditor to provide the name and address of the original creditor in its initial notice. The Court also rejected her claim that the debt collector knew or should have known that she was represented by counsel, and therefore the debt collector should have communicated with her attorney. The Court noted that the complaint did not allege that the consumer’s lawyer sent anyone a representation letter to advise that the consumer was represented by counsel. Lastly, the Court rejected her other allegations because they did not contain factual claims. Instead, they appeared to only contain bare bones recitations of the elements of a potential cause of action for violation of the FDCPA.


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