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    Each debt collector must send FDCPA “notice of debt”

     

    The Federal Trade Commission has joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in filing an amicus brief in the matter of Hernandez v. Williams, Zinman & Parham, P.C  before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case concerns the interpretation and enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

    The FDCPA provides that “a debt collector” must send a consumer a notice containing important information about the consumer’s debt and rights either in “the initial communication” or “[w]ithin five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt.” Consumers have 30 days after receiving such a notice to dispute the debt and to request information about the original creditor.

    The FTC, joining the CFPB, argues in the brief that each debt collector that contacts a consumer — not just the first debt collector that attempts to collect a particular debt — must send a notice that complies with this provision. The brief therefore concludes that the Circuit Court should reverse the District Court’s prior ruling granting summary judgment to the ARM firm in the case.

    The Commission vote authorizing filing of the joint amicus brief was 5-0. It was filed on August 20, 2014.