Collector - January 2018 - 50
Take care to avoid potentially misleading consumers in your settlement offer language.
hile providing a settlement offer
may seem straightforward,
consumers can sometimes
find them confusing or even misleading.
To avoid potential claims under the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act when
providing settlement offers to consumers,
debt collectors will want to be conscious
of any wording that may overshadow the
validation period or mislead the consumer
in any way. Here are a few items to consider:
Offers expiring during the validation
period: While multiple courts have held that
a settlement offer expiring during the 30-day
validation period does not by itself provide
evidence of overshadowing, such offers must
be worded with care to avoid any claims that
the offer overshadows the validation period.
One-time-only offers: A debt collector is
not prohibited from providing subsequent
settlement offers. However, collectors
must be cautious about presenting a
settlement offer as one-time only, take-itor-leave-it when the consumer can accept
the offer beyond the original settlement
date-potentially for a deeper discount.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh
Circuit has approved safe harbor language
to address issues related to expiration of
Disclosure of tax consequences: When
an amount of $600 or more is forgiven, the
IRS may require that the consumer report
the amount forgiven to the IRS as taxable
income. Debt collectors need to consider
whether a settlement offer must notify the
consumer of potential tax consequences.
Notably, whether or not a settlement offer
must include a notice to this effect remains
an unsettled issue with the courts. Because
case law is not settled on this issue, debt
collectors are encouraged to have any
verbiage included in a collection letter
that relates to 1099-C or tax consequences
reviewed by a qualified attorney.
Disclosure of out-of-statute debts:
Multiple courts and regulators have found
that offering to settle an out-of-statute debt
without informing the consumer that the
debt is beyond the statute of limitations,
as well as the consequences of making a
payment on an out-of-statute debt, may
violate the FDCPA. In some instances, state
laws will provide language that may be
required in communications concerning
out-of-statute debts. Collectors should work
with an attorney to determine whether a
disclosure is required and if so, what the
disclosure should state.
Settlement offers intersect several different
types of law and requirements. Thus, there
are many issues surrounding settlement offers
and debt collectors should carefully review
the case law surrounding this option for
further guidance and examples. For a more
in-depth look at the issues and court decisions
surrounding settlement offers, ACA members
"Collectors should work
with an attorney to
determine whether a
disclosure is required."
can review ACA SearchPoint™ document
#1142, Settlement Offers.
Have you checked out the member-only
ACA SearchPoint™ library? This valuable
resource is filled with documents that put
important compliance information related
to the FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, state laws
and many other topics at your fingertips.
To access it, visit www.acainternational.
OPERATIONS MANAGER - NEW YORK AREA
Long Island, New York creditor's rights law firm seeks to add an Operations Manager to its growing team.
Candidates should have strong credit & collection industry experience in the following areas: consumer collections,
inventory management, project management and data analytics. Additionally, candidates must demonstrate
excellent communication and leadership skills as well as overall excellence pertaining to client services and
personnel/human relations. Immediate opening. Candidates should send their resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Manage diverse teams across firm operations.
* Ensure proper process management and teams
* Develop and document processes; manage
* Take active role in firm culture and demonstrate
leadership, enthusiasm and example setting.
* Ensure communication and coordination of
activities among office.
* Evaluate job performance of direct reports.
* Education: BA in business or relevant area or
* Experience: 5-7 years of relevant financial
services experience and at least 2-3 years in
* Strong leadership, effective communication
skills, organization and discipline
* Experience with Data Management, Project
Management and documentation
* Proficient in Microsoft Excel, Visio, etc.