No FDCPA Violation Exists If Settlement Offer Fails to Disclose Accruing Interest

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a debt collector did not violate the FDCPA by sending the consumer a settlement offer letter that did not disclose that his balance could increase due to interest and fees.

In Cortez v. Forster & Garbus, LLP, a creditor placed a consumer’s credit card debt with a debt collector for collection. After obtaining a default judgment, the debt collector sent several collection notices to the consumer.

One such notice provided the consumer various settlement options to satisfy the debt at a “substantial discount off the current balance due.” But, the settlement letter did not disclose that interest was continuing to accrue on the debt.

The consumer filed an action against the collection agency accusing it of violating the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act’s [the “FDCPA”] prohibition against false, deceptive, or misleading representations when collecting a debt, 15 U.S.C. § 1692e, for failing to disclose that interest was accruing on the account.

The Court ruled that, though a debt collector is required to disclose that the balance may increase due to interest and fees, the rule did not apply in this case because the settlement proposal clearly stated that acceptance of one of the options would satisfy the debt, and could not mislead the consumer.

The Cortez decision may limit some potential FDCPA lawsuits, but it does not close the door on all FDCPA lawsuits related to settlement offers.

If you believe that an abusive debt collector, creditor, or credit card company has violated your consumer rights, then Diwan Law can help you. Contact us today at 404-635-6883 to speak to an Atlanta consumer rights attorney.