Collector - February 2018 - 43

IAP

would restart the statute of limitations and
revive the debt collector's ability to sue.
Second, the Seventh Circuit held that the
collection letter's statement, "we will not
sue you," deceptively implied that the debt
collector chose not to sue, rather than that it
was legally barred from doing so.
Although the letter language at issue in
Pantoja had its origin in a 2012 Federal
Trade Commission consent decree with
Asset Acceptance, LLC, the appellate court
took issue with the debt collector's omission
of the following sentence that was included
in the disclosure outlined in consent decree:
"The law limits how long you can be sued
on a debt." The court concluded that the
omission created a "deliberate ambiguity,"
leaving the consumer to "wonder whether
Portfolio has chosen to go easy on this old
debt out of the goodness of its heart, or
perhaps because it might be difficult to prove
the debt, or perhaps for some other reason."
The Seventh Circuit's opinion in Pantoja
expanded the McMahon v. LVNV Funding,
LLC (7th Cir. 2014) opinion to a letter that
not only did not threaten any litigation or
omit reference to the statute of limitations,
but expressly told the consumer that the
debt collector would not sue him due to the
age of the debt.
The collection industry is seeing a
growing trend in similar cases nationwide
in which consumers are not only attacking
letters that are silent regarding the statute of
limitations, but are also attacking letters that
use the disclaimer condoned by the FTC and
the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
This trend, combined with the acknowledged
circuit split over treatment of letters seeking
collection of time-barred debt, has made it
difficult, if not impossible, for debt collectors
to fashion letter language addressing the
statute of limitations that will escape attack.

COLLECTOR 02.18

ACA filed its amicus brief in Pantoja to
urge the Supreme Court to hear the case
because the "Seventh Circuit's approach will
chill legitimate debt-resolution efforts, and
may result in unsophisticated [consumers]
being misled."
ACA's efforts to proactively support
the industry are part of its Industry
Advancement Program and are made
possible by funding through ACA's Industry
Advancement Fund. ACA will continue to
provide more information to its members as

this case progresses and when any decisions
concerning the case are made by the
Supreme Court.
To read more about the most recent
significant judicial decisions involving
the credit and collection industry, ACA
members can always find concise case
summaries at www.acainternational.org/
industry-advancement-program.
Karen Scheibe Eliason is ACA International's
corporate counsel.

43


http://www.acainternational.org/industry-advancement-program http://www.acainternational.org/industry-advancement-program http://www.webrecon.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - February 2018

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Perspective
The Many Sides of a Chief Compliance Officer
Collection Tips
Is This Working?
Advocacy at its Finest
Calendar
Honor Roll
Express Yourself
A Step Above
Ask the Experts: Solving a Problem
ACA Submits Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Case Challenging the 7th Circuit’s Treatment of Letters Seeking Collection of Out-of- Statute Debt.
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - February 2018 - Cover1
Collector - February 2018 - Cover2
Collector - February 2018 - 1
Collector - February 2018 - 2
Collector - February 2018 - 3
Collector - February 2018 - President’s Page
Collector - February 2018 - 5
Collector - February 2018 - Industry News
Collector - February 2018 - 7
Collector - February 2018 - 8
Collector - February 2018 - 9
Collector - February 2018 - Best Practices
Collector - February 2018 - 11
Collector - February 2018 - FYI
Collector - February 2018 - 13
Collector - February 2018 - Perspective
Collector - February 2018 - 15
Collector - February 2018 - Collection Tips
Collector - February 2018 - 17
Collector - February 2018 - 18
Collector - February 2018 - 19
Collector - February 2018 - 20
Collector - February 2018 - 21
Collector - February 2018 - Is This Working?
Collector - February 2018 - 23
Collector - February 2018 - 24
Collector - February 2018 - 25
Collector - February 2018 - 26
Collector - February 2018 - 27
Collector - February 2018 - Advocacy at its Finest
Collector - February 2018 - 29
Collector - February 2018 - Calendar
Collector - February 2018 - Honor Roll
Collector - February 2018 - Express Yourself
Collector - February 2018 - 33
Collector - February 2018 - A Step Above
Collector - February 2018 - 35
Collector - February 2018 - Ask the Experts: Solving a Problem
Collector - February 2018 - 37
Collector - February 2018 - ACA Submits Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Case Challenging the 7th Circuit’s Treatment of Letters Seeking Collection of Out-of- Statute Debt.
Collector - February 2018 - 39
Collector - February 2018 - 40
Collector - February 2018 - 41
Collector - February 2018 - 42
Collector - February 2018 - 43
Collector - February 2018 - Compliance
Collector - February 2018 - 45
Collector - February 2018 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - February 2018 - 47
Collector - February 2018 - Last Word
Collector - February 2018 - Cover3
Collector - February 2018 - Cover4
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