Debt Collector’s Voicemail Message is a Communication Under FDCPA
A consumer sued a debt collector after receiving voicemail messages she claims violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The plaintiff complained the messages failed to meaningfully disclose the debt collector's identity, or that the caller was attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained would be used for that purpose consistent with the FDCPA. The Eleventh Circuit found as a matter of first impression that a voicemail message was initial “communication” under the FDCPA. However, the consumer did not scale the second hurdle to make her case for an FDCPA violation because meaningful disclosure for telephone calls made by debt collectors, under the FDCPA, did not require the individual caller to reveal his or her name. This case provides essential guidance for debt collection professionals involving even the most innocuous communications such as leaving a telephone message.