A common calling strategy is to broadcast a local area code on the Caller ID when calling a debtor. This process has been challenged by debtors across the country as an allegedly false and deceptive "statement" under the FDCPA because the call does not originate locally. However, no court has specifically decided the issue - until now.
In Scheffler v. Integrity Financial Partners, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-188 (U.S.D.C. Minnesota ), the plaintiff alleged in a putative class action lawsuit that the defendant debt collector violated the FDCPA by broadcasting a local area code on the plaintiff's caller ID when placing calls.
The debt collector made the calls from Overland Park, Kansas, but the plaintiff's Caller ID indicated that the calls were coming from Osseo, Minnesota. The plaintiff argued that the use of a local area code number was false and misleading in violation of the FDCPA and would induce consumers to answer calls from debt collectors that they might otherwise avoid. The debt collector argued that the local area code number was not false and properly identified the debt collector, because a return call would be routed back to the debt collector. In fact, the number belonged to the debt collector, even though the call did not originate from Osseo, Minnesota.
In entering judgment in favor of the debt collector, the Court concluded there was no violation of the FDCPA, because the information on the caller ID was accurate - it was the debt collector's number - and when someone called the local number back, it connected to the debt collector. As a result, the Court dismissed the action with prejudice.
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