When the Hunstein decision(s) (see citations below) first came out, it caused shock waves through the collection industry. Taken on its face, no debt collection entity would be able to use any third-party vendor to perform any tasks if the transmission of what could be deemed personal information were sent in connection with the service to be performed. While the case had to do with a mailing service used by the debt collector, its application could spread to skip tracing services, service of process vendors and other service providers essential to debt collectors, both large and small. Read more
By Riley Rodgers
The West Virginia General Assembly recently enacted positive changes to the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA). The new amendment requires a consumer to notify the creditor of an alleged violation and permit the creditor a chance to correct before any action may be brought pursuant to the WVCCPA. Further, there are now codified factors the court must examine in awarding any attorney fees. Highlights of the newly enacted changes are summarized as follows: Read more
On March 16, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio Senate Bill 13, shortening Ohio’s statute of limitations on a variety of claims. While the impact of the bill on numerous causes of action is widespread, of particular note is the impact on contract-based claims. Effective June 14, 2021, Ohio will reduce the statute of limitations for claims premised on written contracts from eight years to six years, and for claims premised on oral contracts from six years to four years. Read more
On April 13, 2020, The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (“WI DFI”) released a guide titled “Emergency Guidance on Prohibited Debt Collection Practices,” along with a cautionary, interpretive letter issued from the WI DFI to a debt collector meant to serve as an example of impermissible practices. The perceived intent of the guide is to encourage debt collectors to act reasonably during the current pandemic, and also to warn of the debt collection practices that are prohibited by the Wisconsin Consumer Act. Read more
After more than a year of urging by Democrats and Attorneys General from over 51 states and territories (including Ohio Attorney General David Yost), and more than a month after the introduction of a bi-partisan bill called the Federally Requiring Earned Education-Debt Discharges for Veterans Act, 100% disabled veterans will have their federal student loans fully discharged. Due to the combined efforts, on August 21, 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Memorandum directing the Secretaries of Education and Veteran Affairs to create a more streamlined process for Totally and Permanently Disabled Veterans to obtain forgiveness of their student loans. Read more
Introduced May 21, Ohio H.B. 251 has been referred to the House’s Civil Justice Committee. This bill is essentially a re-introduction of the previously withdrawn H.B. No. 694 from May 2018. H.B. 694 was withdrawn from committee consideration in early December 2018. KWA previously reported on this in January.
H.B. 251 would amend R.C. 2305.06 and R.C. 2305.07 by reducing the statute of limitation on written contracts from eight (8) years to three (3) years and from six (6) years to three (3) years on non-written contracts. Section 4 of the bill mandates for written or non-written contracts that, “the period of limitations for causes of action would be three years from the bill’s effective dates, or the expiration of the period of limitations that was in effect prior to the bill’s effective dates, whichever occurs first.” Read more
Creditors should keep a watchful eye on the state capital this new year, as there may be a significant updates to Ohio Revised Codes §2305.06 and 2305.07. On May 22, 2018, Rep. George Lang introduced House Bill 694, which proposes to shorten the statute of limitations for all contracts. Co-sponsors of the bill include: Rep. Reineke, Rep. Riedel, Rep. Romanchuk, and Rep. Becker. Read more
Judge Nugent issued his final ruling in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis Co., LPA on July 25, 2018. This decision was a big win for Weltman and the creditors’ bar generally. In this case, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) argued that Weltman violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by sending letters to debtors on its letterhead, under the theory that the letters constituted an implicit representation that an attorney had been meaningfully involved in the file, when in fact no attorney had been so involved. The Court held that Weltman did not violate the FDCPA in sending demand letters on its letterhead because attorneys were meaningfully involved in the handling of the files on which letters were sent. Read more
The case brought against Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis (“WWR”) by the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) moved one step closer to resolution, if not clarity, this month. Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent will issue a verdict after considering the jury’s conclusions of fact, which were returned on two questions:
- Did WWR’s initial demand letters contain “false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means”? The jury concluded that they did.
- Did the CFPB prove that WWR’s attorneys were not meaningfully involved in the debt collection process? The jury concluded that it did not.
A majority of federal court circuits have adopted the least-sophisticated consumer standard in analyzing Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims. The least-sophisticated consumer standard is to ensure that the FDCPA protects gullible as well as shrewd consumers. Creditor Rights advocates have had to contend with this standard, which essentially lowers the burden for a consumer, for years. Although the standard provides deference to the consumer, it is still fairly objective; it merely asks whether the least sophisticated consumer would have been misled by the actions of the debt collector. Read more