District Court in Eastern New York Says Leaving Message With Third Party Violates FDCPA

For years now, the issues of leaving messages for a consumer: risk of improper third party disclosure, and compliance with seemingly conflicting rules, has been a hotbed of legal debate in the ARM community. From Foti v. NCO Financial Systems to Zortman v. J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc. and hundreds of other cases citing those two cases, the issue has been rich fodder for FDCPA litigation.

A ruling in the matter of Halberstam v. Global Credit and Collection Corp. (U.S. District Court, ED, NY, 15-cv-5696 (BMC) adds another wrinkle to the murky (and risky) practice. The case involved leaving a message with a person who answers the consumer’s phone.

The issue presented by the case under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was whether a debt collector, whose telephone call to a debtor is answered by a third party, may leave his name and number for the debtor to return the call — without disclosing that he is a debt collector — or whether the debt collector must refrain from leaving callback information and attempt the call at a later time.

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