The industry of debt collection won a significant victory in the McAdams and Rousso versus Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC case. According to the court, Stoneleigh Recovery Associates acted within the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when it sent letters of collection stating "Current Balance Due." The ACA, a trade association for debt collectors, supported its member Stoneleigh in order to prevent a proliferation of frivolous class or consumer lawsuits in federal court against the debt collection industry. This was also done to reduce the ability of consumers to bring large claims against debt collectors under the FDCPA who are not harmful to consumers.
In the McAdams and Rousso case, the agency sent collection letters to consumers that were identical except for the account information. The letters contained the statement "Current Balance Due" and showed the amount owed by each consumer, along with other necessary information. The letters also itemized charges according to New York State law and showed all charges to be null.
However, the consumers charged the collection agency with violating the FDCPA over the "Current Balance Due" statement and filed a lawsuit. They argued that the use of the word "current" next to "balance" could imply that the debt amount may change, and that the letters failed to convey the exact debt amount.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York did not agree with the consumers' arguments and cited the decision in Taylor versus Financial Recovery Services, Inc. The court said that the collection letters did not violate the rules as they stated the exact, static debt amount.
In light of cases like these, the New York State and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau worked to change the law to ensure that collection letters provide safe language. In response, consumer attorneys filed numerous lawsuits against ACA members. The win in the McAdams and Rousso case has given ACA members an advantage.
For more information on recent developments, visit acainternational.org/industry-advancement-program, which is free to browse.
In conclusion, the court's decision in the McAdams and Rousso versus Stoneleigh Recovery Associates, LLC case was a victory for debt collectors. The ruling confirmed that Stoneleigh acted within the guidelines of the FDCPA when it sent "Current Balance Due" letters. The ACA supported its member to prevent frivolous lawsuits against the debt collection industry and to protect its members.