Debt collectors and consumer advocates agree that collection letters do little (if anything) to truly inform consumers about their indebtedness. Very few consumers actually read collection letters. Further, the verbiage that debt collectors are required by law to include in each collection letter is so voluminous, confusing and often contradictory, any truly meaningful information is often obscured by the required verbiage.
The requirements for what debt collectors are required to provide in “snail mail” notices to consumers arises from a patchwork of Federal, State and local laws — as well as case law that often varies by jurisdiction — and many of the requirements are antiquated, dating back to the 1970s. Unfortunately, these dated and contradictory collection letter requirements continue to result in lawsuits and adverse Court decisions against debt collectors.
In the most recent episode of the Debt Collection Drill audio blog, attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin examine two recent cases decided by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Second Circuit Court of Appeal, both of which found that typical collection letters violated the FDCPA. Below are links to those cases: