Civil Litigation

Does the FDCPA require disclosure of a caller’s identity to a non-debtor third party?

The U.S. District Court of Maryland recently ruled on this issue and the answer appears to be “No.”  See Lynn v. Monarch Recovery Management, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41700 (N.D. Md. March 25, 2013).  The issue of whether a debt collector violates 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(6) by failing to provide “meaningful disclosure” of its identity to a non-debtor was at issue in a suit brought by a non-debtor who alleged he was being harassed by calls from a debt collector seeking to recover debts incurred by either a prior resident or the non-debtor’s brother.

While the FDCPA requires that a debt collector provide “meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity,” see 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(6), it also prohibits a debt collector from communicating with any person other than the consumer in the collection of debt.  See 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(b).  There is tension between these provisions as a “debt collector confronted by a third-party gatekeeper . . . while attempting to contact the debtor, cannot both provide meaningful disclosure pursuant to § 1692d(6) and comply with the requirements of § 1692c(b) preventing the disclosure of a consumer’s personal affairs to third parties.”  Lynn v. Monarch, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41700 at *35, citing, Fashakin v. Nextel Communications, 2009 WL 790350 (E.D.N.Y. March 25, 2009).

To reconcile the apparent conflict between these two provision, the court granted summary judgment to the debt collector holding that Monarch’s failure to meaningfully disclose its identity to a non-debtor plaintiff cannot subject it to liability under § 1692d(6).  The ruling confirms that the FDCPA’s meaningful disclosure requirement is limited to communications with a debtor.



The materials available at this website or blog are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The opinions expressed are those of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.