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Harrer v. A&S Collections Associates

June 23, 2011

HARRER
v.
A&S COLLECTIONS ASSOCIATES, INC.,



Name of Assigned Judge Blanche M. Manning Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The plaintiff's motion for default judgment [53-1] is denied without prejudice. The plaintiff has 21 days in which to file a renewed motion for default judgment or else the case may be dismissed for want of prosecution. Any renewed motion shall include specific citations to caselaw and any other relevant authority demonstrating that the conduct alleged here creates liability under the FDCPA. In the event that the plaintiff seeks emotional distress damages, the plaintiff shall provide current citations to authority from this district supporting that request. Any renewed motion must be noticed before the court.

O[ For further details see text below.]

00:00

STATEMENT

The plaintiff has filed a motion for default judgment with respect to his complaint alleging various violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For the following reasons, the motion for default judgment is denied without prejudice.

The goal of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., is to "eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors." Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA,-U.S., 130 S.Ct. 1605, 1608 (2010). The facts alleged in the plaintiffs' amended complaint are deemed true as a result of the defendants' default. In re Catt, 368 F.3d 789, 793 (7th Cir. 2004). According to the amended complaint, the plaintiff bought a used and defective washer/dryer combination unit from Appliance Depot in Venice, Florida. Although the plaintiff initially placed a "stop payment" order on the check he wrote for the unit, in or around February 2005, he ultimately paid the full price for the unit on a subsequent check in order to "buy peace."

On or about April 15, 2005, the defendant sent the plaintiff a letter stating that he had "failed to clear his delinquent account" with DEP Marketing for $841.48. According to the plaintiff's amended complaint, DEP Marketing is an "also known as" name for Appliance Depot. The April 15, 2005, letter indicated that the outstanding amount would be reported to Equifax Credit Reporting Service. On April 28, 2005, the plaintiff sent a letter to the defendant informing it that he did not owe the money that was discussed in the April 15, 2005, letter. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant then repeatedly placed calls to the plaintiff for the purpose of collecting the alleged debt.

On June 25, 2010, an authorized agent or employee of A&S Collection Services left a message on the plaintiff's telephone answering machine. In the message, the person left her name and phone number and said that it was "very important that you get a hold of me today." The employee did not identify herself as a debt collector. The telephone number from which the employee called belongs to the defendant. On June 28, 2010, the plaintiff faxed a letter to the defendant disputing that he owed the debt and requesting that the defendant verify the alleged debt. This letter, attached as Exhibit C to the amended complaint, is addressed to A&S Collections with a "re:" line reading "Debt of $40.07 owed to marketing T/A appliance depot."

It further states that:

My son just got off the phone with one of your reps regarding the above debt. I have researched it and have come to conclude that I do not owe it. Please do not contact me in this matter via phone.

Also, if your position is that I do owe the debt, please send me verification that I owe it. I have never received a letter from your firm regarding this matter.

On July 21, 2010, the plaintiff received a letter from the defendant that purported to verify that the plaintiff owed $40.07 on the alleged debt. The return envelope read "A&S Collection Associates." Despite the defendant's threat in 2005 that the outstanding amount would be reported to Equifax, that amount has not been reported. The complaint then proceeds to allege that the defendant's conduct violated the FDCPA in eleven different ways. The plaintiff's ...


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