CA identification - FDCPA question

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Thundabird, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. Thundabird

    Thundabird Member

    Does anyone know what actually constitutes "meaningful disclosure" under the FDCPA 806(6)?

    If I get calls on my answering machine saying "Please call Kelly at 1-800-555-2222 and refer to file number 123456", isn't 'Kelly' supposed to leave the name of her employer as well?
  2. Butch

    Butch Well-Known Member


    That in itself might be a violation because there's no telling who might hear the message.

    I'm sure 806(6) contemplates having a real person on the phone, YOU. (presumably)

  3. Thundabird

    Thundabird Member

    Interesting point Butch. It seems like they can't have it both ways, though. The FDCPA makes no distinction between live calls and answering machines.

    I guess more investigation, or and attorney consult, is in store.
  4. awesome

    awesome Member

    Another case in point is this:

    Called ID detects the call as a company other than a collection agency.

    A friend received 3 numbers were the same except the last 2 digits. The 3 calls on caller ID showed up as 3 different companies. One showed up as an amusement company!
  5. Black77

    Black77 Member

    So Butch, this has happened to me recently,

    The following message was on my answering machine:

    "Mr. "my name", this is so and so with xyz. You or your attorney need to call me asap at xxxxxxxx regarding a debt"

    Mind you. I have never spoken to this collection agency before. Still haven't. They also pulled a hard on my CR 2 weeks ago. Haven't received a thing from them in the mail either.

    Are you telling us that a collection agency cannot leave the above message?
  6. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    Third party disclosure of collection purposes.

    This is the same as sending a post card with that same message to your postal address.

    Who knows who would get the messages on that answering machine, it may not even be your phone # any more.
  7. Black77

    Black77 Member

    Basically, then, the CA is limited to leaving their name, phone number and company name on an answering machine, correct?
  8. Thundabird

    Thundabird Member

    This is what I seems as thought the Act is open to very wide interpretation on this issue.
  9. Butch

    Butch Well-Known Member

    Excellent points one and all.

    One cannot violate the law by complying with it. So Jam hits the nail on the head. He gets the prize today. :)

    They must comply with not only the letter of the law, but also the meaning of the law, AND the spirit of the law.

    There are numerous catch 22 scenario's where, by complying with the law, [it appears that] one is actually breaking the law. When this happens, the only party that can straighten out the argument is a judge or a jury.

    But if you put yourself in the judges shoes, who's job it is to be FAIR and IMPARTIAL, (not necessarily side with you) you should see that the same common sense approach would be applied to this dilemma as that of Jam's § 808.

    § 808. Unfair practices [15 USC 1692f]

    ... the following conduct is a violation of this section:
    (8) 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.

    But the "Meaningful Disclosure Requirement" seems to conflict:

    § 806. Harassment or abuse [15 USC 1692d]

    ... the following conduct is a violation of this section:
    (6) Except as provided in section § 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity.

    § 806 (6) refers to 804:

    § 804. Acquisition of location information [15 USC 1692b]

    The implication here is that a 3rd party is being communicated with, in an effort to find you.

    So what's the spirit of the law? Under no circumstances is a CA to inform ANY 3rd party, even accidentally, that the target is a delinquent debtor. This is potentially humiliating, embarrassing and abusive, and easily qualifies as harassment.

    So the smart thing for the CA to do is err on the side of caution. The smartest message a CA can leave on an answering machine is simply: "This is Jane, please call me back about a very important issue at 1-800 blah. Please use reference # 12345".

    In Thundabirds case, I believe there is no violation.

    Conversely, to call and leave a message that "Mr. "my name", this is so and so with xyz. You or your attorney need to call me asap at xxxxxxxx regarding a debt", IS a violation of, although perhaps not the letter of the law [in this regard], at least the spirit of it.

    Here's another example of this catch 22:

    It is required by law to include the mini-miranda in ALL communications. Therefore, it cannot be a "continued collection violation" to do so in the letter by stating: "This is an attempt to collect a debt, etc.", even though collection activity must cease. This would place the CA in a catch 22 from which there could be no escape. A judge would not permit this.

    BTW - this is merely my interpretation. But if I were a Judge, this is how I'd rule.


  10. lsmith15

    lsmith15 Well-Known Member

    Hell all the collection calls I get from CA says on my caller ID unknown caller or no information every time they call me they r in violation as they send no information and nver leave a msgs if I don't pick up the phone
  11. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    In cases where they call repeatedly and refuse to leave a message on an answering machine, they're actually committing another violation... ;)

    Section 806(5) prohibits contacting the consumer by telephone "repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number."

    1. Multiple phone calls. "Continuously" means making a series of telephone calls, one right after the other. "Repeatedly" means calling with excessive frequency under the circumstances.

    Its vague as to how many a 'series' is or what an 'excessive frequency' would be. But this can always be used in our favor, the law is meant to protect consumers, so the benefit of the doubt has to be slanted towards the consumer. If you personally believe that two calls in a row is continously, you could persue the violation; the more series they do the more violations... The caveat is that you would have to stop counting after every break in the calls... if they call twice back to back, no calls for an hour, and they call three more times, that would be two series of two and three calls, and you may even be able to get the judge to say that the pattern of those two series together would be an excessive frequency of calls.

    Also on the issue of leaving a message... If the caller reveals the name of their employer in the message its a violation, since they are only allowed to reveal that (even if it reveals the nature of the call is a debt collection purpose) if they are EXPLICITLY ASKED for their employers information.

    How many peoples answering machine messages explicitly ask for the callers name, company name, and phone number... :)

    However, stating anything regarding a debt collection purpose (unless it would fall under the accidental disclosure in the event they are explicitly asked for the company name) is also another violation since who knows whose answering machine that may be now...

    Remember they can't even use an assumed name, subsidiary, or company alias when asked directly for their employer's name... :)
  12. sassyinaz

    sassyinaz Well-Known Member


    The mini-miranda is NOT required on all communications.

    This thread is too much, supposed allegations that can never be proven = no violation.

    Why don't you use the information to send a cease and desist letter or letter requesting communication only in writing, then you would have a violation.


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