Federal Trade Commission Joins Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Filing Amicus Brief in Debt Collection Case

The Federal Trade Commission has joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in filing an amicus brief in the matter of Hernandez v. Williams, Zinman & Parham, P.C (WCP) (Case No. 2:12-cv-00731, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit). The case concerns the interpretation and enforcement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

The FDCPA provides that “a debt collector” must send a consumer a notice containing important information about the consumer’s debt and rights either in “the initial communication” or “[w]ithin five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt.” Consumers have 30 days after receiving such a notice to dispute the debt and to request information about the original creditor.

The FTC, joining the CFPB, argues in the brief that each debt collector that contacts a consumer — not just the first debt collector that attempts to collect a particular debt — must send a notice that complies with this provision. The brief therefore concludes that the Circuit Court should reverse the District Court’s prior ruling granting summary judgment to WCP.

The Commission vote authorizing filing of the joint amicus brief was 5-0. It was filed on August 20, 2014. (FTC File No. P082105; the staff contact is Burke Kappler, Office of General Counsel, 202‑326‑2043)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action. To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Room CC-5422, Washington, DC 20580. To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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