Wed, 22 October 2014
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently in Douglass v. Convergent that a collector’s envelope, which disclosed a collection agency account number through the window in the envelope, raised privacy concerns and violated the FDCPA. The Court in Douglass held that the collection agency account number-visible through the window on the envelope presumably for return mail sorting purposes was a piece of information capable of identifying Douglass as a debtor. In analyzing the claim in Douglass, the Court examined the FDCPA, and specifically Section 1692f(8) which prohibits:
Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector's address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.
Since the Douglass ruling, filings of similar cases against debt collectors have been brisk, especially in Pennsylvania and New York. In the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill, attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin discuss the Douglass decision and some specific legal theories upon which debt collectors may defend similar claims.