Collector - December 2017 - 42

IAP

11th Circuit Rules Voicemail is a "Communication"
and Disclosing Name of Collection Agency Provides
"Meaningful Disclosure" Under FDCPA
ACA member sought to gain clarity on the appropriate content for debt collection
voicemail messages with the assistance of ACA's Industry Advancement Program.
By Karen Scheibe Eliason

T

hrough the Industry Advancement
Program, ACA International
committed Industry Advancement
Funds to help defray member litigation
and appellate defense costs in the 11th
Circuit Court of Appeals case of Hart v.
Credit Control, LLC, No. 16-17126, 2017 WL
4216029 (11th Cir. Sept. 22, 2017).

42

At issue was whether a voicemail message
left by a collection agency constitutes a
"communication," and whether disclosing
the name of the collection agency, but
not the identity of the individual caller,
constitutes a "meaningful disclosure." The
11th Circuit answered both questions in
the affirmative.

In Hart, the Florida district court held
that the following content of the collection
agency's voicemail message did not
constitute a "communication" under the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and,
therefore, was not subject to the initial
communication requirements:
"This is Credit Control calling with a
message. This call is from a debt collector.
Please call us at 866-784-1160. Thank you."
The district court found that like the
voicemail message in Zortman, nothing in
the collection agency's voicemail message
identified the consumer nor any debt owed
by the consumer. In fact, the court found
that the voicemail message did not reference
any debt at all, directly or indirectly. It
concluded that the voicemail message the
collection agency left for the consumer in no
way "conveyed information regarding a debt,'
and therefore, the complaint fail[ed] to state
a claim under Section 1692e(11)."
The court also held that the collection
agency's voicemail message provided
meaningful disclosure to the consumer and,
therefore, did not violate Section 1692d(6). It
explained that the voicemail message, while
not identifying the individual representative,
did identify the collection agency and the
collection agency's status as a debt collector.
The court ruled that said disclosure was
sufficient because it is the collection agency's
identity, and not that of the individual caller,
that is meaningful to a consumer.
Notably, the district court wrote in its
opinion:
"As a whole, Plaintiff 's allegations in the
complaint are absurd. The five innocuous
voicemails of which Plaintiff complains are

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - December 2017

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Stronger Together
Taking a Layered Approach
Lines of Communication
Calendar
Honor Roll
Collective Intelligence
CFPB Issues Final Rule for Small Dollar Lending Market
Ask the Experts: Training Advice
Court Rules Voicemail is a “Communication" and Disclosing Name of Collection Agency Provides “Meaningful Disclosure” Under FDCPA
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - December 2017 - Cover1
Collector - December 2017 - Cover2
Collector - December 2017 - 1
Collector - December 2017 - 2
Collector - December 2017 - President’s Page
Collector - December 2017 - Industry News
Collector - December 2017 - 5
Collector - December 2017 - 6
Collector - December 2017 - 7
Collector - December 2017 - Best Practices
Collector - December 2017 - 9
Collector - December 2017 - FYI
Collector - December 2017 - 11
Collector - December 2017 - Collection Tips
Collector - December 2017 - 13
Collector - December 2017 - Stronger Together
Collector - December 2017 - 15
Collector - December 2017 - 16
Collector - December 2017 - 17
Collector - December 2017 - 18
Collector - December 2017 - 19
Collector - December 2017 - Taking a Layered Approach
Collector - December 2017 - 21
Collector - December 2017 - 22
Collector - December 2017 - 23
Collector - December 2017 - 24
Collector - December 2017 - 25
Collector - December 2017 - Lines of Communication
Collector - December 2017 - 27
Collector - December 2017 - 28
Collector - December 2017 - 29
Collector - December 2017 - 30
Collector - December 2017 - 31
Collector - December 2017 - 32
Collector - December 2017 - 33
Collector - December 2017 - Calendar
Collector - December 2017 - Honor Roll
Collector - December 2017 - Collective Intelligence
Collector - December 2017 - 37
Collector - December 2017 - CFPB Issues Final Rule for Small Dollar Lending Market
Collector - December 2017 - 39
Collector - December 2017 - Ask the Experts: Training Advice
Collector - December 2017 - 41
Collector - December 2017 - Court Rules Voicemail is a “Communication" and Disclosing Name of Collection Agency Provides “Meaningful Disclosure” Under FDCPA
Collector - December 2017 - 43
Collector - December 2017 - Compliance
Collector - December 2017 - 45
Collector - December 2017 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - December 2017 - 47
Collector - December 2017 - Last Word
Collector - December 2017 - Cover3
Collector - December 2017 - Cover4
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