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RMAI monitored a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill last week as the House passed the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act on a party-line vote with one democrat opposing. RMAI does not anticipate the Act will pass the Senate. Several of the amendments which contain the more damaging proposals for the industry are considered “messaging,” with little or no chance of passage.  RMAI is working strategically to oppose this proposal.

Additionally, RMAI is monitoring the confirmation process for the Biden Administration’s nominee for CFPB Director, Rohit Chopra. We anticipate the confirmation process will not be completed for several more weeks. Upon confirmation, RMAI will seek to meet with the new CFPB Director, as well as the new FTC Commissioners, to provide an introduction to RMAI and, specifically, our Receivables Management Certification Program.

RMAI filed Comments on the CFPB’s NPRM extending the implementation date of the debt collection rule for sixty days.

STATE LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY

The month of May is where we get to the point that a majority of state legislatures adjourn for the year. As more and more legislatures close, the volume of tracked legislation obviously decreases. However, a handful of progressive states remain in session which requires vigilance. These states include California, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. Click here for some recent developments at the state level that might be of interest.

On May 13, 2021, the State of Nevada Department of Business and Industry Financial Institutions Division (NFID) announced the extension of its Temporary Guidance Regarding Working from Home through July 31, 2021. The NFID advises this guidance will not be extended and collection agencies should make plans to comply with Nevada law and laws of other jurisdictions.

To request a copy of the RMAI state tracking list, contact David Reid at dreid@rmaintl.org.

 California AB 1020 – This bill would among other things prohibit the sale of hospital debt to debt buyers. [RMAI strongly opposes the provision of the bill which prohibits the sale of an entire asset class of debt. We view this as a dangerous precedent which could be used in the future to prohibit the sale of other asset classes. RMAI has had several productive conversations with the bill sponsor and is hopeful that we can get this prohibition removed from the bill.]

 California SB 531 – This bill would require collection agencies to provide certain data and documents to a consumer upon request. The data and documents are identical to the requirements for debt buyers contained in the California Fair Debt Buying Practices Act which was adopted in 2013. The bill would also prohibit creditors from selling or assigning consumer debts to a third party unless the creditor provides the debtor a notice (“Goodbye Letter”) within five days of the sale or assignment that contains the dollar amount of the outstanding debt and the name of the party to whom the debt was sold or assigned. [The author has already amended the bill to address several concerns raised by RMAI. RMAI continues to work with the author on additional amendments.]

 Maine LD 1466 – This bill would prohibit debt collectors from suing on credit card and student loan debt in small claims courts. [This is a reintroduction of a 2020 bill. In the prior legislative session, RMAI had negotiated the removal of several anti-debt buyer provisions from the bill. We were also successful in adding a provision which allows debt collectors who have affiliates to have a single license and a single examination. RMAI testified in opposition to the small claims court provisions in committee on April 20th.]

Maine LD 737 – This bill would among other things: (1) increase the wage garnishment exemption from 40x federal minimum wage to 40x state minimum wage; (2) increase the homestead exemption from $47,500 to $225,000; (3) increase the statutory exemption amounts for automobiles, clothing, furniture, appliances, and jewelry; and (4) create a new statutory exemption of $5,000 ($10,000 if married) on funds contained in a bank account.

Nevada SB 248 – This bill would limit interest charged by a collection agency to 5% when collecting on a medical debt and would prohibit a collection agency from bringing suit on a medical debt if the value of the medical debt is $10,000 or less. “Medical debt” is broadly defined and would include medical debt charged on a credit card. [RMAI, through our Nevada lobbyist, has negotiated a carve-out from the definition of “medical debt” for open and closed credit lines, provided that the credit lines were not created exclusively for medical debt. We anticipate a revised version of the bill to be introduced within the week.]

Texas HB 4266 – This bill would reign in the unethical business practices of the credit repair industry by requiring credit repair organizations to: (1) obtain the express written authorization from consumer clients to communicate on their behalf; (2) disclose their identity in the communication and not impersonate the client; (3) provide sufficient information to investigate a dispute of an item related to an extension of consumer credit; and (4) provide an itemized monthly statement to the client of services provided. [RMAI has retained a Texas lobbyist to work with an industry coalition to support the passage of this legislation.

May 2021

11th Circuit Holds Disclosing Consumer Information to Letter Vendors Violates FDCPA

Hunstein v. Preferred Collection & Mgmt. Servs., No. 19-14434, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 11648 (11th Cir. Apr. 21, 2021)

On April 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a decision holding that the transmittal of consumer information to a letter vendor constitutes a communication with an unauthorized third party in connection with the collection of a debt in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(b).

The facts are relatively straight-forward. The collector electronically transmitted information about the consumer and his debt to its letter vendor, which then used that information to create and send a letter to the consumer.

Before addressing the merits of the consumer’s claim, the court determined whether the consumer had standing to pursue that claim. The court noted that the consumer could not establish standing based upon a tangible harm, as he failed to allege one. The consumer was also unable to establish standing based on an impending risk of significant harm. Therefore, the court looked to whether the consumer was able to identify a statutory violation that gave rise to an intangible, yet still concrete, injury.

When determining whether a statuary violation confers Article III standing, courts consider history and the judgment of Congress. After reviewing the history of American and English common law, the court found that the alleged injury was sufficiently analogous to the tort of invasion of privacy. The court also found that the judgment of Congress supported standing because “invasions of individual privacy” were among the harms that Congress explicitly targeted in enacting the FDCPA.

The Eleventh Circuit recently addressed whether a consumer had standing to assert claims under § 1692e and § 1692f regarding the absence of a statute-of-limitations revival warning in a collection letter in Trichell v. Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 964 F.3d 990 (11th Cir. 2020). The court in Trichell held that the consumer did not have standing to pursue those claims because, among other things, he was not actually misled by the letter.

The court distinguished its decision in Trichell by explaining that the § 1692e claim asserted in that case bore an insufficiently close relationship to the most analogous common-law tort (fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation). Also, there is no evidence that Congress intended to address, as the court put it in Trichell, “misleading communication[s] that fail to mislead.” However, Congress specifically identified invasions of privacy as one of the harms against which the FDCPA was directed. Accordingly, the court held that the consumer had standing to pursue his § 1692c(b) claim.

Moving to the merits of the consumer’s claim, the court noted that the collector did not dispute that its transmittal of information to the letter vendor was a “communication” as that term is defined at 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2). This concession meant that the court only needed to decide whether that communication was made “in connection with the collection of any debt” in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(b). The court first determined that the phrase “in connection with” and the word “connection” are both broadly defined and require only a relationship or association. From there, the court arrived at the “inescapable” conclusion that the collector’s transmittal of data (including consumer name, creditor name, and account balance) to the letter vendor was related to or associated with the consumer’s debt and, therefore, was “in connection with the collection” of that debt.

The collector asserted three arguments in support of its position that the transmittal to its letter vendor was not “in connection with the collection of any debt.” The court rejected all three. The collector first argued, citing prior Eleventh Circuit decisions, that a communication is not in connection with the collection of a debt unless it includes a demand for payment. The court rejected this argument and explained that its prior cases implying such a requirement addressed alleged violations of § 1692e, not § 1692c(b). The court also noted that § 1692c(b) contains exceptions for communications with certain third parties, such as credit reporting agencies, to which no demand for payment would be directed. Those exceptions would be redundant if a communication had to include a demand for payment to be “in connection with the collection of any debt” under § 1692c(b).

The collector next argued that the Eleventh Circuit should apply a multi-factor balancing test used by the Sixth Circuit in evaluating whether a communication was “in connection with the collection of any debt” under § 1692e. The court again noted the linguistic and operational differences between § 1692e and § 1692c(b) in rejecting this argument.

At the risk of oversimplifying the third argument, the collector essentially argued that numerous debt collectors use letter vendors yet there were no court decisions holding that the use of letter vendors violates the FDCPA. In rejecting this argument, the court observed that this case might be the first to decide whether a collector violates § 1692c(b) by transmitting information to a letter vendor.

The court understood that its interpretation of § 1692c(b) “runs the risk of upsetting the status quo in the debt-collection industry,” that it could be extended beyond the use of letter vendors, and that it “may well require debt collectors (at least in the short term) to in-source many of the services that they had previously outsourced, potentially at great cost.” However, the court believed that the plain language of the statute compelled its holding.

3rd Circuit Finds Correctly Itemizing Interest and Fees as $0.00 Does Not Violate FDCPA  

Hopkins v. Collecto, Inc., 994 F.3d 117 (3d Cir. 2021)

A consumer received a letter from a debt collector which sought to collect past due amounts on behalf of a creditor who acquired the debt. The letter included a table itemizing the debt, including fields for interest and fees which were both stated as “$0.00.”  The letter offered to “resolve this debt in full” if the consumer paid a lump-sum discounted amount.

In a putative class action complaint against the debt collector and creditor (collectively, the “debt collectors”), the consumer claimed that because the debt was static and purportedly could not accrue interest or fees, assigning a “$0.00” value to those columns falsely implied that interest and fees could accrue and increase the total debt over time, in violation of sections 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA.

Upon consideration of the debt collectors’ motion to dismiss, the trial court dismissed the consumer’s complaint with prejudice, reasoning that the letter neither “leave[s] the least sophisticated consumer in doubt of the nature and legal status of the underlying debt” nor “impede[s] the consumer’s ability to respond to or dispute collection.”  The consumer appealed.

On appeal, the Third Circuit noted that other federal appellate courts recently addressed similar claims.  In Degroot v. Client Services, Inc., 977 F.3d 656 (7th Cir. 2020), the Seventh Circuit held that a collection letter that listed a debt as including $0.00 in interest and fees “mere[ly] rais[ed] . . . an open question about future assessment of other charges,” and did not mislead the unsophisticated consumer.

Likewise, in Salinas v. R.A. Rogers, Inc., 952 F.3d 680 (5th Cir. 2020), the Fifth Circuit concluded that a dunning letter’s inclusion of $0.00 due in interest and fees and the statement that “in the event there is interest or other charges accruing on your account, the amount due may be greater than the amount shown above after the date of this notice” did not violate the FDCPA “from the perspective of an unsophisticated or least sophisticated consumer.”

Finding the rationale of the Fifth Circuit in Salinas and Seventh Circuit in Degroot persuasive, the Third Circuit similarly concluded that the letter did not violate the FDCPA by itemizing $0.00 in interest and fees on his static debt and the dismissal of the class action complaint was affirmed.

Notably, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed an amicus brief in support of the debt collectors. The Third Circuit noted that the CFPB’s recently finalized Regulation F “seemingly condone[s] itemizing interest and fees as [the debt collectors] did. . . Under the pending rules, debt collectors must include in certain notices a table showing the interest, fees, payments, and credits that have been applied – even if none have actually been applied – to a consumer’s debt since the itemization date. . . And a debt collector may indicate that the value of a required field is ‘0,’ ‘none,’ or may state that no interest, fees, payments, or credits have been assessed or applied to the debt.”

5th Circuit Holds Plaintiff Not Entitled to Attorney’s Fees Following FDCPA Settlement

Tejero v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, 993 F.3d 393 (5th Cir. 2021)

A consumer sued a debt collector for purported violations of the FDCPA and parallel provisions of Texas state law.  After the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment were denied on the basis that triable issues of fact existed, the parties reached a settlement before trial wherein the debt collector agreed to waive the outstanding debt (approximately $2,100) and pay $1,000 damages.

After apprising the trial court of the settlement, the court entered sanctions against the debtor’s attorneys, ordering “thousands of dollars in costs and fees” and reporting them to the disciplinary committee for allegedly bringing the case in bad faith.  See Tejero v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., L.L.C., 955 F.3d 453, 457.

The consumer appealed, and the Fifth Circuit reversed the imposition of sanctions for abuse of discretion and remanded the matter to the trial court to determine whether the consumer’s “favorable settlement entitled him to attorney’s fees under the FDCPA.”  The district court held it did not, which led to another appeal.

In this appeal, the sole question before the Fifth Circuit was whether the trial court erred in refusing the consumer’s application for attorney’s fees under the FDCPA.

The court noted that “as a general matter in the United States ‘[e]ach litigant pays his own attorney’s fees, win or lose’” under a principle known as the “American Rule.”  However, the FDCPA authorizes fee shifting, allowing a plaintiff to recover reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court with costs “in the case of any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability.”  15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3).

Reviewing dictionary definitions for “successful” and “action,” and the purpose of “the infinitive phrase ‘to enforce the foregoing liability,’”, the Court concluded that “a ‘successful action to enforce the foregoing liability’ means a lawsuit that generates a favorable end result compelling accountability and legal compliance with a formal command or decree under the FDCPA.”

Here, the Court determined that the requirements of § 1692k(a)(3) were not met: “[The consumer] won no such relief because he settled before his lawsuit reached any end result, let alone a favorable one. And by settling, [the debt collector] avoided a formal legal command or decree from [the consumer’s] lawsuit.”

Accordingly, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the trial court’s denial of attorney’s fees.

9th Circuit Holds Bona Fide Error Defense Can Be Raised in FDCPA Statute of Limitations Cases

Kaiser v. Cascade Capital, LLC, 989 F.3d 1127 (9th Cir. 2021)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a trial court’s dismissal of case alleging that the defendant violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by sending a collection letter threatening litigation over a time-barred debt and filing a lawsuit seeking to collect the debt.

In so ruling, the Ninth Circuit held, “as a matter of first impression, [] that a mistake about the time-barred status of a debt under state law could qualify as a bona fide error within the meaning of the FDCPA.”

The plaintiff purchased a car under a retail installment sale contract. He subsequently defaulted on his payments, and his car was repossessed and sold. The proceeds from the sale failed to cover the outstanding balance under the contract, and the plaintiff did not pay the remaining amount due.

The defendant attempted to collect the debt by sending a letter and ultimately filing a lawsuit in Oregon state court. These collection attempts occurred between four to six years after the plaintiff’s default.

The plaintiff responded to the defendant’s state court lawsuit by arguing that the debt was barred under Oregon’s four-year statute of limitations for sale-of-goods contract claims, Or. Rev. Stat. § 72.7250. The defendant countered that Oregon’s six-year statute of limitations for other contract claims, Or. Rev. Stat. § 12.080, applied instead. The state court ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff then filed a putative class action in federal court alleging the defendant violated the FDCPA by threatening litigation over an “out-of-statute” debt in the collection letter and by filing a lawsuit to collect the “out-of-statute” debt. The trial court dismissed for failure to state a claim, reasoning in part that the defendant did not violate the FDCPA because the state statute of limitations had been unclear at the time the defendant attempted to collect the debt. The plaintiff timely appealed.

The Ninth Circuit first addressed whether the plaintiff’s debt was, in fact, “out-of-statute” under Oregon law. If the lawsuit more closely related to portion of the contract for the underlying sale of the car, then a four-year statute of limitations would apply; however, if the focus was the portion of the contract creating a security interest in the car, a six-year statute of limitations would apply. See Or. Rev. Stat. § 72.7250 (requiring claims of breach of contract for a sale of goods to be brought within four years), and § 12.080 (requiring other contract claims to be brought within six years).

The Ninth Circuit relied, in part, on the Oregon Supreme Court case Chaney v. Fields Chevrolet Co., 503 P.2d 1239 (Or. 1972) to inform its decision: “[A]n action [by a creditor] for part of the purchase price is more closely related to the sale portion of the contract than it is to the security portion.”

The Court also noted that the four-year statute of limitations for breaches of contract for a sale of goods originated from Oregon’s codification of Article 2 of the UCC, Or. Rev. Stat. § 72.7250.  Oregon applies Article 2 to sales transactions with a security element unless the “collateral is transferred by a debtor to a creditor solely as security.”

Additionally, the Court observed that Or. Rev. Stat. § 71.1030(1)(c) instructs interstate uniformity when interpreting the U.C.C., and that a majority of other states apply the Article 2 statute of limitations for sales of goods to actions to recover deficiency balances after repossession of the goods.  Accordingly, the Court held that a four-year statute of limitations applied to the plaintiff’s debt under Oregon law.

Given the plaintiff’s debt was “out-of-statute” at the time the defendant attempted to collect it, the Ninth Circuit held that the defendant’s conduct violated the FDCPA, even though the defendant was unsure of the legal status of the debt during its collection attempts.

However, the Ninth Circuit also concluded that the defendant “may nonetheless be able to avoid liability through the FDCPA’s affirmative defense for bona fide errors. To successfully invoke the defense, a debt collector must show[] by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(c).”

The Court noted that in Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA, 559 U.S. 573 (2010), the U.S. Supreme Court “adopted the rule announced in Baker [v. G.C. Servs. Corp., 677 F.2d 775 (9th Cir. 1982)] that mistakes about the meaning of the FDCPA itself cannot be bona fide errors,” but “expressly declined to decide whether the defense could encompass mistakes of state law. . .”

The Court explained that “Jerman relied on the presumption that ‘ignorance of the law will not excuse any person, either civilly or criminally.’”  However, “the ignorance-of-the-law ‘maxim does not normally apply where a defendant has a mistaken impression concerning the legal effect of some collateral matter and that mistake results in his misunderstanding the full significance of his conduct.’”

The Court concluded that in the matter at hand, the “allegations necessarily implicate a legal element entirely collateral to the FDCPA: the time-barred status of the debt under state law. This collateral legal element falls outside the ignorance-of-the-law maxim described in Jerman.”

Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the plaintiff stated a claim for relief under the FDCPA and reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the action, remanding it for further proceedings in which the defendant could assert the bona fide error defense.  The Court “express[ed] no opinion on its likelihood of success on such a defense.”

US Supreme Court Adopts Restrictive ATDS Interpretation

Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, 141 S. Ct. 1163 (2021)

The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act can no longer apply to devices that do not “us[e] a random or sequential number generator,” according to an April 1 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. For businesses that use telephone technology that does not use a random or sequential number dialer – and there are many that do not – the Court’s 9-0 ruling in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid should significantly reduce the risk of TCPA litigation for businesses using telephone technology to call their customers.

The case arose after a consumer received on his cell phone several text messages from Facebook warning him that someone had accessed his Facebook account. The consumer did not have a Facebook account. Facebook believed the consumer was assigned a cell phone number that had once belonged to a customer who requested to receive the notifications. The consumer sued Facebook alleging it violated the TCPA when it stored cellular phone numbers and then used its equipment to send automated messages to him without his consent.

Facebook argued that its text messaging system was not an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) subject to the TCPA. The trial court agreed and dismissed the case. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, holding that because Facebook’s equipment had the capacity to “store numbers” to be texted and could “dial such numbers automatically” it was an ATDS subject to the TCPA. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals finding that the Facebook equipment was not an ATDS because it lacked the capacity “to store or produce telephone numbers . . . using a random or sequential number generator” and to call those numbers.

Although Duguid concerns text messages, it equally applies to calls to cellular phones.

To fall within the TCPA, the call must be made using an ATDS. The TCPA itself provides a definition that would seem to limit its application to equipment which has the capacity “to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator” and to call those numbers.

Enacted in 1991 with the stated purpose of curtailing robocall solicitations, courts and even the federal agency tasked with TCPA rulemaking – the Federal Communications Commission – gave such broad interpretations to what constitutes an ATDS that at times any type of device, save for a rotary telephone, could be construed to be subject to the TCPA.

Calls made by businesses to their customers were often the target of TCPA lawsuits and because of the expansive interpretations, a business need not have used equipment that used a random or sequential number generator to find itself paying out TCPA awards and settlements. With statutory damages of up to $1,500 per violating call, TCPA litigation was lucrative, especially TCPA class actions.

Under the decision, to come within the ambit of the TCPA, an ATDS must have the capacity to store telephone numbers using a random or sequential number generator or produce telephone numbers using a random or sequential number generator.

Some will argue that the reference to “capacity” leaves open the argument that although the dialed number did not originate from a random or sequential number generator, the equipment still had the capacity to do so and would bring the call within the TCPA.

But, as the decision noted, “Congress’ definition of an autodialer requires that in all cases, whether storing or producing numbers to be called, the equipment in question must use a random or sequential number generator” and “[t]he statutory context confirms that the autodialer definition excludes equipment that does not ‘us[e] a random or sequential number generator.’”  “Capacity,” as the decision is using it, is better read to mean the equipment’s present capacity, and not a potential capacity to do so. This leaves businesses and their telephone equipment vendors in a far better position to control TCPA risk.

The absence of “human intervention” is how one line of TCPA case law interpreted an ATDS. Simply put, if a human did not punch a button to initiate the call, the device was construed to be an ATDS subject to the TCPA and the consumer asked the Court to adopt this interpretation.

The Court refused to stretch the TCPA “as malleably” as the consumer would have liked, reasoning that “all devices require some human intervention . . .”

The decision certainly puts an end to the interpretation that the TCPA is triggered by merely storing and dialing numbers automatically. “Expanding the definition of an autodialer to encompass any equipment that merely stores and dials telephone numbers would take a chainsaw to these nuanced problems when Congress meant to use a scalpel,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in delivering the Court’s opinion.

The decision also overrules an earlier decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which afforded a broad interpretation to what constitutes an ATDS; namely, equipment that stores and dials telephone numbers. A significant number of cases are still pending in trial and appellate courts that have been awaiting the Duguid decision and we will soon see how it will be applied by a varied number of courts. Expect a good deal of argument concerning the meaning of “capacity.”

3rd Circuit Holds Invitation to Call to “Eliminate Further Collection Action” Did Not Violate FDCPA

Moyer v. Patenaude & Felix, A.P.C., 991 F.3d 466 (3d Cir. 2021)

A consumer failed to pay her credit card debt, and the card issuer hired a debt collector. The debt collector sent the consumer a validation notice that included the information required by the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a), and further stated, in part: “If you wish to eliminate further collection action, please contact us at [the debt collector’s phone number].”

Section 1692g(a)(4) requires that the consumer be notified in writing, if not so notified in the initial communication, that if she or he “notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed,” the debt collector will mail the consumer verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment.  Section 1692g(b) requires that upon receipt of such a written dispute, a debt collector must cease collection until the verification or copy of a judgment is mailed.

The consumer filed suit alleging the letter was deceptive in violation of § 1692(e)(10) of the FDPCA by indicating “that a phone call was a ‘legally effective’ means of stopping collection activity” when § 1692g requires the consumer’s notification to be in writing to effectuate cessation of collection activities.

The trial court disagreed with the consumer and granted summary judgment in favor of the debt collector, and the consumer appealed.

On appeal, the consumer again argued that the debt collector’s “invitation to ‘eliminate’ collection action through a phone call would deceive a debtor into believing that the call would, by law, require collection efforts to cease.”

The Third Circuit was not persuaded by the consumer’s argument because, while the debt collector did invite the consumer “to call to ‘eliminate’ collection action, [it] never asserted, explicitly or implicitly, that the phone call would, by law, force [the debt collector] to cease its collection efforts.”

The consumer also argued that because the sentence in question was placed above the § 1692g notices, a debtor would be left confused as to whether she should call or write to exercise her rights.

The Third Circuit again disagreed, noting that the consumer saw “confusion where none exists” because the validation notice specifically instructed her “to write to exercise [her] § 1692g rights, leaving no suggestions that a phone call would suffice,” and did “not suggest that [she] could exercise any § 1692g rights over the phone.”

Accordingly, the Third Circuit concluded that the collection letter did not violate the FDCPA, and affirmed summary judgment in favor of the debt collector.

With the fallout of the recent 11th Circuit Court decision on Hunstein v. Preferred Collection & Mgmt. Servs. and current state legislative activity impacting the receivables management industry, RMAI is grateful for the generous support of members for the Legislative Fund. RMAI is a member of the Print & Mail Coalition that recently released FAQs and a timeline. The State Legislative section of this newsletter details RMAI’s involvement in state legislation. Contribute to the Legislative Fund by donating online or sending a completed contribution form via email or by mail.

About the Legislative Fund
RMAI actively monitors and responds to state and federal measures affecting how our members do business. Your contributions to the Legislative Fund extend the reach of RMAI’s advocacy across the country where and when needed. Read more about the Legislative Fund here. Click here to see a list of current contributors on the right side bar.

Watch Webinars
RMAI’s Education Committee is actively working to schedule future webinars. Our May monthly webinar is coming soon. If you missed the RMAI Briefing on the 11th Circuit Decision and Next Steps webinar, held on April 26, 2021, you can still watch the recording. View our Online Education selection and register for previously recorded webinars. All recorded monthly webinars are FREE to our members. (Special series and select required courses for certification are paid at member rate.)

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Get your company name in front of a captive audience of your colleagues and RMAI members when you sponsor a webinar! View our Webinar Sponsorship Flyer for details and benefits of a sponsorship.


Submit Webinar Presentation Proposals
With all of the changes in 2021, now is the time to let us know what you want to learn about and what interests you. If you have an educational topic or proposal you want to see presented on one of our monthly webinars, please complete our Education Proposal Form, and we will submit your proposal to our Education Committee for review.

Earn or Renew Certification with Webinars
Whether earning or renewing the Certified Receivables Compliance Professional designation, RMAI offers 30+ recorded webinars you can choose from to earn the required credits. Check out our Online Education webpage to register. Additionally, RMAI 2021 Annual Conference registrants can use their login credentials through July to watch the recorded livestream educational sessions.

Contact Shannon Parod at sparod@rmaintl.org or 916.482.2590 with any questions.

Get certified in 2021 through RMAI Receivables Management Certification Program. Check out these helpful resources to learn how to earn the CRCP, CRB and CRV designations:

CRBs with affiliated business entities (debt buying company, law firm, collection agency, creditor) can certify them as a Family of Companies for ONLY $150 each.

Affiliated business entities must meet the following criteria to qualify for a Family of Companies under the same Certification:

  • Have the same Chief Compliance Officer
  • Have the same executive management team that exerts control over business operations
  • Maintain a uniform network of compliance on all accounts serviced between the business entities
  • Be governed by the same corporate policies and procedures
  • Agree to be audited in a single unified audit
  • Agree deficiency and remediation against one business entity will apply to all of the business entities


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR NEW & RENEWAL CERTIFICATOINS!

CRCP – New

Daniel Chung – Stenger & Stenger P.C.

Eryn Fiondella – Branding Arc

Denise Hatem – Velocity Investments

Katherine Head – Branding Arc

Miguel Hughes – Standard Equity Group

Amber Knight – Accelerated Portfolio Inc.

Richard Marshall – Velocity Portfolio Group

Rajeesh Ramakrishnan – First Credit Services

Deanna Sgro – Velocity Portfolio Group

Lindsey Svenson – Velocity Portfolio Group

Laura Thompson – Commercial Credit Group

Deidri Welch – First Financial Portfolio Services

 CRCP – Renewals

Ryan Barker – Mjollinir Group

Susan Becker – Jormandy

 Daniel Consuegra – Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra

Steven Crawford – Real Time Resolutions

Mark Lesinski – Landmark Strategy Group, LLC

Ramon Lio – Portfolio Investment Solutions, LLC

William Marohn – Tobin & Marohn

Teresa Mautz – Orion Portfolio Services

Nikki Noyes – Logicoll, LLC

Roy Regain – Crown Asset Management

Daniel Schindler – Plaza Services, LLC

Lisa Soller – Autovest, L.L.C.

Jonathan Thompson – Transworld Systems, Inc.

John Tyler – CKS Financial

CRB – Renewals

Unifund CCR, LLC

 

View all certified businesses and vendors.

View all certified individuals.

For questions about certification, contact Brianna Halsey at (916) 482-2462 or bhalsey@rmaintl.org.

Welcome New RMAI Members!

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Automated Collection Services | TN
Compattia Roccia Management Group, LLC | NY
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First Solutions Debt Management | WA
Independence Capital Recovery, LLC | NY
Intelligent Contacts | TX
Kredit Financial, Inc. | DE
Lafayette Federal Credit Union | MD
Nations Client Resolution | FL
Oliver Adjustment Company, Inc. | WI
Standard Equity Group | PA
Starmark Financial, LLC | FL

The monthly RMAI Update is emailed to members’ Primary Contacts and Additional Membership Representatives. If others from your company would benefit from receiving this and other member only communications, use the Additional Membership Representative Form to enroll them, just $75 each.

RMAI’s leadership cultivates relationships within the receivables management industry to expand business opportunities for members.

National Creditors Bar Association 2021 Spring Conference, May 19-21, 2021

Memorial Day | RMAI Office Closed I May 31, 2021

RMAI 2021 Executive Summit | August 2-4, 2021

RMAI 2021 Annual Conference Photos and Flattery

Good News Stories
We hope you enjoy RMAI’s Thursday “Good News” posts highlighting the good deeds of RMAI members.  If you or your company are doing positive things in your community, let us know. We share those accomplishments on RMAI’s website and social media accounts. Please email your good news to Penny Cunha, RMAI Deputy Director, at pcunha@rmaintl.org. Thank you!

Contribute Now

Thank you to our May 2020 – May 13, 2021 Legislative Fund Contributors!

Diamond $25,000
Cavalry Investments, LLC
Crown Asset Management, LLC
Financial Recovery Services, Inc.
Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
Resurgent Holdings, LLC

Titanium $15,000
Velocity Portfolio Group, Inc.

Platinum $10,000
C&E Acquisition Group, LLC/Diverse Funding Associates, LLC/DNF Associates
CKS Financial
Crown Asset Management, LLC
Encore Capital Group, Inc.
Unifund CCR LLC

Gold $7,500
First Financial Portfolio Service, LLC

Silver $5,000
Collins Asset Group LLC
Oliphant United, LLC
Superlative RM
The Bureaus, Inc.
U.S. Equities Corp.

Bronze $2,500
Absolute Resolutions Corp.
Central Portfolio Control, Inc.
Investment Retrievers, Inc.
National Loan Exchange, Inc.
RAzOR Capital, LLC
SAM, Inc. – Solutions for Account Management
Security Credit Services, LLC
Synergetic Communication, inc.
Tobin & Marohn

Brass $1,000
Andreu, Palma, Lavin & Solis, PLLC
Balbec Capital, LP
Ballard Spahr LLP
Bayview Solutions, LLC
Butler & Associates, P.A.
Capio
Digital Recognition Network
Equifax, Inc.
Halsted Financial Services, LLC
Investinet, LLC
Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC
Jormandy, LLC
Kino Financial Co., LLC
Plaza Services, LLC
Pressler, Felt and Warshaw, LLP
Resurgence Capital, LLC
Stenger & Stenger P.C.
Stephen L. Bruce & Associates
The Cadle Company
The Law Offices of Ronald S. Canter, LLC
TrueAccord
United Holding Group
Verifacts, Inc.
Vertican Technologies, Inc

Other
Accelerated Data Systems
Acctorp International, Inc.
Action Collection Agencies, Inc.
Aldridge Pite Haan, LLP
Alliance Credit Services, Inc.
Alpha Recovery Corp.
Applied Innovation, Inc.
Arko Consulting LLC
ARM Compliance Business Solutions, LLC
ATKB Portfolio Management
Attunely Inc.
Ballard Spahr, LLP
Bloom & Associates, P.A.
Capital Collection Management, LLC
Cascade Capital, LLC
Central Research, Inc.
CMS Services
Collins Asset Group
Commercial Credit Group Inc.
Complete Credit Solutions
Comtronic Systems, LLC
Convergence Acquisitions, LLC
Converging Capital, LLC
Convoke, Inc.
Credit Control, LLC
Credit Management Corporation
CSS Impact!
D & A Services, LLC
D. Scott Carruthers, APLC
David Reid
DebtTrader
Delev & Associates, LLC
Delta Outsource Group, Inc.
Dynamic Recovery Solutions
Faloni Law Group, LLC
FLOCK Specialty Finance
FMS, Inc.
FocusOne, Inc.
Full Circle Financial Services, LLC
G. Reynolds Sims & Associates, P.C.
Gaskell & Giovannini, LLC
Genesis Recovery Services
Glass Mountain Capital, LLC
Harvest Strategy Group, Inc.
Hunt & Henriques
Indiana Receivables, Inc.
International Debt Buying Consultants, LLC
Invenio Financial, a Phillips & Cohen Associates Company
Jan Stieger
Keith D. Weiner & Associates Co., LPA
Kelly Knepper- Stephens
Kirschenbaum & Phillips, P.C.
Law Office of James R. Vaughan, P.C.
Law Offices of Daniel C. Consuegra, P.L.
Law Offices of Steven Cohen, LLC
Lippman Recupero
Lockhart, Morris & Montgomery, Inc.
Logicoll, LLC
London & London
LTD Financial Services
Malone Frost Martin PLLC
Maurice Wutscher LLP
Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, LLC
Metronome Financial LLC
Monarch Recovery Management, Inc.
MRS BPO, LLC
Mullooly, Jeffrey, Rooney & Flynn, LP
National Check Resolution, Inc.
National Enterprise Systems, Inc.
National Recovery Associates
National Recovery Solutions
NCB Management Services, Inc.
NDS, LLC
Nelson & Kennard
Neustar, Inc.
Ontario Systems, LLC
Orion Capital Solutions, LLC
Palinode, LLC
PCI Group, Inc.
PerSolve, LLC
Pharus Funding, LLC
Phin Solutions, Inc.
Portnoy Schneck, L.L.C.
Poser Investments, Inc.
Premier Forty Financial, LLC
ProVest
Quantum3 Group, LLC
Resource Management Services, Inc
RevSpring
RIP Medical Debt
Robinson Hoover & Fudge, PLLC
SCORE Statistical Consulting
Simmonds & Narita LLP
Solutions by Text
Sonnek & Goldblatt, Ltd.
Stone, Higgs & Drexler
Superlative RM
Troy Capital, LLC
Universal Fidelity LP
US Mortgage Resolution, LLC
USI Solutions, Inc.
VanDerHeyden Law Office PA
Vargo & Janson, P.C.
Venable LLP
Venandi Systems, LLC
Viking Client Services, Inc.
VoApps
Wipfli LLP
Viking Client Services, Inc.
VoApps
Wipfli LLP