Eastern District Of New York Grants Summary Judgment To Debt Collector In 'Current Account Balance' Case
On March 22, 2018, the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment to a collection agency in a "current account balance" case. Specifically, the Court found no violation of the FDCPA because in its letter the debt collector did not have to notify the consumer that her balance may increase and the creditor was appropriately identified.
In Polizois v. Vengroff Williams, Inc., Polizois incurred a medical debt with Enzo Clinical Labs, Inc. (Enzo). When Polizois failed to make full payment on the debt, Enzo referred the claim to Vengroff Williams, Inc. (Vengroff) for collections. Vengroff in turn sent Polizois a letter, identifying Enzo as Vengroff's client at both the top and bottom of its letter. Further, the letter stated an "amount due of $51.74" and Vengroff was a "debt collection agency engaged by the above-creditor," referring to Enzo. A detachable payment slip appeared at the bottom of the letter, again identifying Enzo as Vengroff's "client" and stating the "amount due" of $51.74. The collection letter did not indicate whether any interest, fees or other charges might be added to the amount owed.
Based upon the letter, Polizois filed suit against Vengroff, claiming Vengroff violated the FDCPA by not clearly identifying the creditor in its collection letter and failing to notify Polizois the "amount due" may increase due to interest, fees and other costs. Polizois further contended that, because of these same alleged failures, the letter was misleading and deceptive.
In granting Vengroff's summary judgment's motion, the Court confirmed an affirmative duty did exist to disclose when a balance accrues interest and/or fees, under the holding in Avila v. Riexinger & Associates, LLC. However, Polizois failed to provide any authority that a debt collector must provide the disclosure when in fact the balance remained "static." In the specific facts in this case, the Court found there was undisputed evidence establishing Polizois' agreement with Enzo did not provide for interest or fees...
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