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Atchoo - Sufficiency of a Complaint Required for an FDCPA

Adam J Krohn / Posted: 2012-10-28 12:00 am
The number of debt collection agencies is on the rise and so are complaints about collection tactics. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to protect consumers from creditor harassment with unfair, abusive, and deceptive collection practices. Through this act, limits were placed on how and when debt collectors can contact people they are trying to collect from. The FDCPA also states what is necessary to have a valid complaint against a debt collector.

One such complaint was in a case that we had handled named Atchoo v. Redline Recovery Services, LLC.The Plaintiff, Ban Atchoo, started an action claiming that the Defendant, Redline Recovery, violated the FDCPA by calling repeatedly and continuously in its attempt to collect on a debt. The Defendant moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim due to lack of specificity. 

Redline Recovery believed Plaintiff was not specific enough about the number of phone calls she received and never said whether she answered the phone when those calls were made. Additionally, Redline claimed the case should be dismissed because the Plaintiff failed to say whether or not she owed the debt.

The court found that under the FDCPA the Plaintiff:
  • Was not required to state a certain number of phone calls;
  • Was not required to state whether she answered the phone; and
  • Did state that she allegedly owed a debt

According to the court, a plaintiff’s complaint is not overly vague if it does not specifically state the number of phone calls or whether she answered because she is not required to do so under the FDCPA. In fact she did state that the Defendant was calling on a constant and continuous basis with multiple calls on a daily basis. For these reasons the court found the complaint to have provided enough information to have a valid complaint and denied the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Under the FDCPA in order of a debt collector to be in violation they need only do any of the following acts:
  • Calling prior to 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m
  • Informing a third party about your debt
  • Contacting the consumer at work when it is known that the employer prohibits such communications
  • Attempting to continue collecting after a notice to stop communication has been given
  • Calling on a repeated and continuous basis
  • Using language that is obscene, profane or abusive
  • Threatening or using violence to collect, etc

In this case, the Defendant was calling on a repeated and continuous basis. Under the statute repeated and continuous is not defined by a certain number of calls and how often the calls must be placed. Therefore it is not necessary for a person who wishes to file a complaint under the FDCPA to specify the number of calls but rather just to state that a number of calls occurred and on a regular basis.

This case is not unique though and is a common tactic used that inexperienced representatives may not be capable of defending you. On our blog, we have studied and actually found that FDCPA lawsuits are on the rise—at an alarming rate! Our team of experienced FDCPA attorneys will help protect you and your family from aggressive and unfair debt collectors.

If you or a loved one believes to be a victim of malicious and wrongful conduct under the FDCPA, please contact us immediately. Call us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 or visit our website for a FREE case review and evaluation at
Tags : Debt Collection, Debt Collection Harassment, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fdcpa, Recent Articles

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