Collector - July 2018 - 32

"The court stated
that the verification
requirement 'serves
as a check on the debt
collection agency,
not the creditor' and
that requiring a debt
collector to further
investigate the validity
of the amount owed
would be 'burdensome
and significantly beyond
the [FDCPA's] purpose.'"

32

the account was not hers. Again, EOS
reviewed its internal records and verified
Walton's debt.
Walton disputed the debt a second time,
this time claiming the account number
associated with the debt was inaccurate. Upon
receipt of this dispute, EOS requested deletion
of the credit reports at issue. Walton alleged
that EOS's investigation of her disputes was
not reasonable under the FCRA.
The district court found EOS satisfied its
legal obligations under the FDCPA and FCRA
in reviewing Walton's disputes and granted
EOS's motion for summary judgment.

THE OPINION
On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed
the lower court's finding that EOS properly
verified the debt. The court stated that
the verification requirement "serves as a
check on the debt collection agency, not the
creditor" and that requiring a debt collector
to further investigate the validity of the
amount owed would be "burdensome and
significantly beyond the [FDCPA's] purpose."
In application, the Seventh Circuit found
that EOS's verification was sufficient because
EOS checked and confirmed that Walton's
personal identifying information matched
the records it received from AT&T. Because
a debt collector must simply provide the
consumer with enough information to
dispute the payment obligation, the Seventh
Circuit found that EOS reasonably verified
Walton's ownership of the account and
satisfied its obligation under the FDCPA.
Regarding Walton's FCRA claims, the
court found EOS's investigations of Walton's
credit disputes reasonable based on the
information included in the credit reporting
agencies' dispute reports.
Specifically, the court found Walton's first
dispute, which stated the AT&T account
did not belong to her, provided so little
information that EOS's review of its internal
information alone was reasonable. The
court also found that once EOS learned
that Walton disputed the debt based on
the inaccurate account number, it took the
reasonable and appropriate action to request
deletion of its reporting of Walton's debt.

VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
IN OTHER CIRCUITS
This decision aligns with those from the
Fourth and Ninth Circuits in finding that
a debt collector discharges its obligation
as to debt validation by verifying that its
letters accurately conveyed the information
received from the creditor.
In Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F.3d 394
(4th Cir. 1999), the Fourth Circuit Court
of Appeals held that a collector's obligation
to verify a debt involves nothing more than
the collector confirming in writing that the
amount being demanded is what the creditor
claims is owed and that a collector is not
required to keep detailed files of the alleged
debt. Specifically, the court stated:
"[V]erification of a debt involves nothing
more than the debt collector confirming in
writing that the amount being demanded
is what the creditor is claiming is owed; the
debt collector is not required to keep detailed
files of the alleged debt . . . [c]onsistent with
the legislative history, verification is only
intended to 'eliminate the . . . problem of
debt collectors dunning the wrong person
or attempting to collect debts which the
consumer has already paid.'"
Chaudhry has been followed by other circuit
courts, including the Ninth Circuit in Clark v.
Capital Credit & Collection Services, Inc., 460
F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2006).
However, not every circuit agrees with this
standard. For example, in Haddad v. Alexander,
Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC, 758 F.3d
777, 786 (6th Cir. 2014), the Sixth Circuit
found, pursuant to the FDCPA, verification of
a debt requires a debt collector to "provide the
consumer with notice of how and when the
debt was originally incurred or other sufficient
notice from which the consumer could
sufficiently dispute the payment obligation."
In Haddad, a debt collection law
firm attempted to collect condominium
homeowner association (HOA) assessments
and fines from the plaintiff. When the plaintiff
disputed the debt within the 30-day period
pursuant to FDCPA Section 1692g, the
collector provided him a recent copy of his
HOA account ledger (the POD). Thereafter,
the plaintiff contacted the collector again

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

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Navigating Uncharted Territory
Making Sense Out of Collection Notice Requirements
Do You Need to Contact Creditors to Verify a Debt?
Calendar
Honor Roll
Getting on the Right Path
A Better Framework
ACA Members Contribute to Successful Collectors Challenge Month
The ACA Int’l v. FCC Decision: What Does It Mean For Your Business?
Connecting with Legislators at ACA’s Washington Insights Conference
Second Circuit Rules for Accounts Receivable Management Industry in Case Supported by ACA’s Industry Advancement Program
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Last Word
Collector - July 2018 - Cover1
Collector - July 2018 - Cover2
Collector - July 2018 - 1
Collector - July 2018 - 2
Collector - July 2018 - 3
Collector - July 2018 - Upfront
Collector - July 2018 - 5
Collector - July 2018 - Industry News
Collector - July 2018 - 7
Collector - July 2018 - 8
Collector - July 2018 - 9
Collector - July 2018 - Best Practices
Collector - July 2018 - 11
Collector - July 2018 - FYI
Collector - July 2018 - 13
Collector - July 2018 - Collection Tips
Collector - July 2018 - 15
Collector - July 2018 - Navigating Uncharted Territory
Collector - July 2018 - 17
Collector - July 2018 - 18
Collector - July 2018 - 19
Collector - July 2018 - 20
Collector - July 2018 - 21
Collector - July 2018 - 22
Collector - July 2018 - 23
Collector - July 2018 - Making Sense Out of Collection Notice Requirements
Collector - July 2018 - 25
Collector - July 2018 - 26
Collector - July 2018 - 27
Collector - July 2018 - 28
Collector - July 2018 - 29
Collector - July 2018 - Do You Need to Contact Creditors to Verify a Debt?
Collector - July 2018 - 31
Collector - July 2018 - 32
Collector - July 2018 - 33
Collector - July 2018 - 34
Collector - July 2018 - 35
Collector - July 2018 - Calendar
Collector - July 2018 - Honor Roll
Collector - July 2018 - Getting on the Right Path
Collector - July 2018 - 39
Collector - July 2018 - A Better Framework
Collector - July 2018 - 41
Collector - July 2018 - ACA Members Contribute to Successful Collectors Challenge Month
Collector - July 2018 - 43
Collector - July 2018 - 44
Collector - July 2018 - 45
Collector - July 2018 - The ACA Int’l v. FCC Decision: What Does It Mean For Your Business?
Collector - July 2018 - 47
Collector - July 2018 - Connecting with Legislators at ACA’s Washington Insights Conference
Collector - July 2018 - 49
Collector - July 2018 - Second Circuit Rules for Accounts Receivable Management Industry in Case Supported by ACA’s Industry Advancement Program
Collector - July 2018 - 51
Collector - July 2018 - Compliance
Collector - July 2018 - 53
Collector - July 2018 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - July 2018 - Ad Index
Collector - July 2018 - Last Word
Collector - July 2018 - Cover3
Collector - July 2018 - Cover4
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