In Webb et al. v. Midland Credit Management, Inc. et al., the federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that a plaintiff cannot state a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by simply alleging that a debt collector sent a letter to the debtor seeking to collect a greater dollar amount than it latter sought to collect in a lawsuit. According to the court, the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege that the debt collector’s action was false, deceptive, or misleading.
The plaintiffs in Webb brought a class action lawsuit alleging violation of the FDCPA by two debt collectors and their parent company. According to the complaint, the debt collectors’ attempted to collect debts from the plaintiffs by sending collection letters demanding more than the debt collectors ultimately sued to collect in a latter lawsuit. The plaintiffs alleged that, by sending collection letters that “inflat[ed] the amount of the claimed debt,” the defendants violated the FDCPA.
The court ruled in favor of the debt collectors and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims. According to the court, plaintiffs did not adequately allege that the “inflated” amount was false, deceptive, or misleading. The court refused to assume that the debt collectors did not have a valid basis for seeking the higher amounts in the pre-suit letters. To read the court’s opinion, click this link – Webb v Midland Credit Management Inc.
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