Collector - March 2020 - 47

IAP

other than Credico's true name. The 8th
Circuit found that the district court correctly
determined that the use of the terms in
question was not false or misleading to an
unsophisticated consumer.
The 8th Circuit stated, "An unsophisticated
consumer would understand that 'Professional
Debt Collectors' and 'CCB' respectively
describe and reference Credico ... Further
Credico's letter provided the [consumer] with
a correct registered name, its phone number,
its website, the balance due, and a name and
phone number for her assigned collector."
The court went on to explain that although
the consumer claimed the district court
erred in dismissing her case, it based its
ruling on the objective determination that an
unsophisticated consumer would not have

considered the statements in question false or
misleading. Thus, the 8th Circuit affirmed the
district court's decision on this issue.
The consumer's next argument alleged that
the signature of Mitchell, a person unlicensed
to collect debt in Minnesota, violated the
FDCPA. The consumer claimed that because
Minnesota law requires debt collectors to be
licensed before collecting debts, Mitchell's
signature on the letter created a breach of
federal law.
The court ruled that "Mitchell's signature
was not an unfair and unconscionable means
to attempt to collect a debt" because her
"signature was one of the three signatures
on the letter, and the other two signatories
were both registered to collect debts in
Minnesota." Of note in the 8th Circuit's

affirmation of the district court's decision,
the court pointed out that the FDCPA did
not turn every violation of state law into a
federal violation.
In her final argument, the consumer alleged
that the debt collection company attempted
to collect pre-judgment interest contrary
to Minnesota statute 549.09. She claimed
this violated the FDCPA's provision against
collecting any amounts that are not permitted
by law. The debt collection company argued
that it could seek pre-judgment interest under
Minnesota statute 334.01. The 8th Circuit
found that "it was not false to suggest that
Credico could collect pre-judgment interest"
because "Minnesota law does not prohibit
Credico from seeking pre-judgment interest." 
The court went on to explain that the
Minnesota Supreme Court has not decided
whether statute 334.01 allows for the
collection of pre-judgment interest. The
court found that the text of the statute in
question did not prohibit the collection of
pre-judgment interest and therefore, it was
not false to suggest that the debt collection
company could collect it.
ACA is pleased with the 8th Circuit's
decision in this case, as it provides insight on
the interplay between state debt collection
laws and federal laws. The court's statement
provides a certain amount of guidance
at least in the 8th Circuit that minor or
irrelevant infractions of state law are not
necessarily federal issues. Furthermore, it
is refreshing to receive a court decision that
emphasizes a debt collector's ability to use
acronyms when collecting.
ACA's efforts to proactively support the
accounts receivable management industry are
part of the association's Industry Advancement
Program and are made possible by funding
through ACA's Industry Advancement Fund.
If you want to read more about the most
recent significant judicial decisions involving
the accounts receivable management industry,
ACA members can always find concise case
summaries at acainternational.org/industry
advancement-program.
Laura Dadd is ACA International's
compliance analyst.

COLLECTOR 03.20

47


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Collector - March 2020

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