Midland Credit Management Notation on Envelope FDCPA Indiana Class Action

This class action takes issue with two features of a debt collection letter sent to a consumer by Midland Credit Management, Inc. (MCM). The first is an embossment of the words “Important Information Enclosed” and “Attention Requested” on the envelope. The second is a sentence inside the letter on the subject of settlement offers. The complaint claims that both these features violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

The letter was directed to plaintiff Cynthia Schnapf, who had obtained credit from Credit One Bank, NA, for personal or household expenses. After the debt went into default, Credit One charged it off. The MCM letter states that Midland Funding, LLC (MF) is the current creditor.

MCM sent Schnapf a collection letter dated July 10, 2019. On the envelope, to the right of Schnapf’s address, the words “Important Information Enclosed” were embossed in a circle. Inside the circle were the words, “Attention Requested.”

The complaint claims, “On information and belief, MCM’s research demonstrates that least sophisticated consumers are more likely to open collection letters sent in Important Information Enclosed envelopes than envelopes that do not contain the words ‘Important Information Enclosed’ and ‘Attention Requested.’”

The complaint alleges that Schnapf became “nervous, anxious and worried” after seeing the words on the envelope and immediately opened the envelope.

However, the complaint claims, the FDCPA prohibits this kind of thing. It forbids debt collectors from “[u]sing any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his business name if such name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.”

The second problem, according to the complaint, relates to the listing of settlement options in the letter. One was for 40% off the current balance if Schnapf paid by August 9, 2019. Another offered 20% off if she paid over a period of six months. At the bottom of the letter was the phrase, “We are not obligated to renew any offers provided.”

The complaint alleges that the phrase inspired a sense of urgency that made Schnapf think this was a take-it-or-leave-it offer. The complaint alleges that the letter thereby violates the FDCPA.

The complaint quotes a judge as referring to the phrase as “safe harbor language” but opining that the phrase in fact “emphasizes and amplifies the creditor’s message that this is a limited-time offer.” She proposed that the court reexamine the safe harbor language and adopt a different safe-harbor wording: “We may, but are not obligated to, renew this offer.”

The class for this action is all persons with mailing addresses in the Southern District of Indiana who were mailed debt collection letters originally owed to a Credit One Bank credit card where the envelopes used for mailing were embossed with the words, “Important Information Enclosed” and “Attention Requested.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Midland Credit Management Notation on Envelope FDCPA Indiana Complaint

July 3, 2020

This class action takes issue with two features of a debt collection letter sent to a consumer by Midland Credit Management, Inc. (MCM). The first is an embossment of the words “Important Information Enclosed” and “Attention Requested” on the envelope. The second is a sentence inside the letter on the subject of settlement offers. The complaint claims that both these features violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Midland Credit Management Notation on Envelope FDCPA Indiana Complaint

Case Event History

Midland Credit Management Notation on Envelope FDCPA Indiana Complaint

July 3, 2020

This class action takes issue with two features of a debt collection letter sent to a consumer by Midland Credit Management, Inc. (MCM). The first is an embossment of the words “Important Information Enclosed” and “Attention Requested” on the envelope. The second is a sentence inside the letter on the subject of settlement offers. The complaint claims that both these features violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Midland Credit Management Notation on Envelope FDCPA Indiana Complaint
Tags: FDCPA, Notation on Outside of Debt Collection Letter Envelope, Unlawful Debt Collection