An FDCPA class action suit in Pennsylvania just survived a crucial attempt to dismiss it, and could spell trouble for debt collectors in the Northeast around the country.
Denise Harlan brought a class-action suit against Transworld Systems, Inc., a debt collector who had sent her a collection letter with disclosure language required by the FDCPA hidden among dense boilerplate on the back. She sued, saying the disclosure was not conspicuous enough. Transworld asked the court to dismiss the claim, and it did not-- because language on the front of the letter conflicted with the disclosure language on the back. It did not entertain the question of whether the placement was improper.
Transworld could be in a heap of trouble for this-- having a faulty boilerplate letter could make the company liable for damages to every person it sent the letter to in the year preceding the lawsuit's filing, not to mention for the court costs and attorney's fees from the case (for both sides). This would be very expensive, and potentially trouble for every other company with a similar letter, who may be exposed to class action liability themselves. I would not be surprised to see an appeal here, or a settlement.
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