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Maniaci v. The Receivable Management Services Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

June 29, 2018

PATRICK MANIACI, Plaintiff,
v.
THE RECEIVABLE MANAGEMENT SERVICES CORPORATION, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM E. DUFFIN U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         1. Background

         On February 5, 2018, Patrick Maniaci filed a proposed class action complaint alleging that The Receivable Management Services Corporation, which does business as RMS, violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Wisconsin Consumer Act (WCA). (ECF No. 1.) RMS moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 10.) Maniaci filed an amended complaint (ECF No. 17), and RMS again moved to dismiss (ECF No. 18). Maniaci responded (ECF No. 20) and RMS replied (ECF No. 21). The matter is now ready for resolution. All parties have consented to the full jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. (ECF Nos. 4, 13.)

         According to the amended complaint, RMS sent Maniaci a debt collection letter.

         The letter contained the FDCPA validation notice:

         IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid. If you notify this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgment, if any, and mail you a copy of such judgment or verification. If you request this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice RMS will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

(ECF No. 17-1.) The letter also stated:

         IMPORTANT: REFER TO CLAIM NUMBER IN ALL COMMUNICATIONS

         (Id.) (Emphasis in original.) Finally, the letter further stated:

If you have not yet been contacted by an RMS representative, you will be receiving a call to bring this matter to a resolution. Should you receive this letter after a discussion with our representative, we thank you for your cooperation.

(Id.)

         In his amended complaint Maniaci alleges that the letter violated the FDCPA in a couple of different ways. First, “nothing in 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a) requires that the ‘claim number' be included in the written dispute.” (ECF No. 17, ¶ 19.) Maniaci alleges that, by directing the consumer to refer to the claim number in all communications, the letter would confuse and mislead the unsophisticated consumer into believing that a written dispute sent without the claim number would be disregarded or otherwise not treated as a dispute. (ECF No. 17, ¶ 23.)

         Second, Maniaci alleges that an unsophisticated consumer would understand the letter's statement that he would be receiving a call from an RMS representative to mean that RMS would be calling the consumer within a few days or weeks, and certainly within the next thirty days after receiving the letter. (ECF No. 17, ¶ 27.) That statement is “false, deceptive, misleading, and confusing” and “inconsistent with the statutory disclosure of the consumer's right to dispute the debt.” (ECF No. 17, ¶ 28.) According to the amended complaint, an unsophisticated consumer would think he did not need to submit a written dispute but could instead wait until RMS called him to ...


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