United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
I. Shadur, Senior United States District Judge
action by Michael and Kelly Netzel (collectively
"Netzels") has invoked the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (the "Act") to charge Wakefield &
Associates ("Wakefield") with having engaged in
unlawful collection practices violating the Act. This
memorandum order is issued sua sponte because of the
problematic nature of the Complaint as presented by
the Complaint targets is a single communication from
Wakefield to addressees identified as "The Parents Of
Harmony Richardson, " conveying a message admittedly
identified in the document itself as "a communication
from a debt collector." What is charged in the Complaint
as having run afoul of the Act is the inclusion of the
underscored portion of the following printed message that
makes up the text of the communication:
Our client(s) referred your past due account(s) to this
Agency for collection. If there is some reason why you are
unable to make full payment on this outstanding balance we
ask that you contact our office.
To insure proper credit to your account(s) please use payment
coupon below and make your check payable to Wakefield &
Associates, Inc. Interest may be accruing on the
balance, please call for updated total before sending
You may make your payment online by going to our payment
vendor's secure website: wakefieldpaymentsolutions.com.
to Netzels' counsel, that communication violates Section
1692e. In that respect Complaint ¶¶ 22 through 24
22. There has been no agreement for interest between
Plaintiff and the original creditor.
23. Therefore, the only interest that would apply would be
statutory interest, which here in Illinois is governed by 815
ILCS 205/, which states statutory interest does not apply
until there has been a 30 day notice for such interest by the
24. Here, the letter is the thirty day notice, it is not
legally possible for interest to accrue at this point.
Netzels' counsel would have it, the language in
Wakefield's communication that has been underlined above
in this memorandum order violated Section 1692e by materially
misleading Netzels because, as Complaint ¶ 25 alleges:
It is a violation of 15 U.S.C. Section 1692e to imply an
outcome that can not legally come to pass.
Court is of course well aware of the low level of
sophistication or comprehension on the part of someone
targeted by a debt collector that our Court of Appeals has
set as the standard for finding any communication from that
debt collector violative of the Act. But here Netzels'
seeks to call to their aid caselaw from our Court of Appeals
and other courts that does not at all justify the ...