The 3rd Circuit upheld a summary judgment ruling that dismissed a putative class action against a law firm:
Candace Moyer brought a putative class action against Patenaude & Felix, A.P.C. under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) after Patenaude sent her a collection letter inviting her to “eliminate further collection action” by calling Patenaude. Moyer claimed that this invitation to call Patenaude (1) deceives debtors by making them think a phone call is a “legally effective” means of ceasing collection activity, and (2) makes debtors uncertain about their right to dispute a debt in writing. Moyer’s claims fail, so we will affirm the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Patenaude.
The court held language in the letter at issue saying the plaintiff could call to “eliminate further collection action” was not deceptive:
Moyer first contends that the letter is a deceptive means of debt collection in violation of §1692e(10) because Patenaude indicated that a phone call was a “legally effective” means of stopping collection activity. Appellant’s Br. 13. Section 1692g(b) requires a debt collector to “cease all collection efforts if the consumer provides written notice” that she disputes the debt. Wilson, 225 F.3d at 354. A phone call from a debtor would not legally require Patenaude to cease collection efforts. But, according to Moyer, Patenaude’s invitation to “eliminate” collection action through a phone call would deceive a debtor into believing that the call would, by law, require collection efforts to cease.
Moyer’s argument fails because Patenaude never claimed the phone call was a “legally effective” means of stop-ping collection efforts. Patenaude invited Moyer to call to “eliminate” collection action, but never asserted, explicitly or implicitly, that the phone call would, by law, force Patenaude to cease its collection efforts. Moyer reads into the invitation an implication that it does not create. For this reason, the district court decisions cited by Moyer are inapposite. They each involve a debt collector who did state that a phone call would legally require collection activity to cease. See, e.g., Langley v. Weinstein & Riley, P.S., No. H-12-1562, 2013 WL 2951057, at *5, 7–8 (S.D. Tex. June 14, 2013)(holding that a debtor collector’s letter was deceptive when the letter stated that “the law requires [the debt collector] to suspend its [collection] efforts” if the debtor placed a phone call with the debt collector).
The court also held the language was not confusing:
Moyer next contends that Patenaude’s insertion of the invitation to call in the Contact Sentence before the Validation Notice causes confusion regarding how to pursue her rights contained in the Validation Notice. According to Moyer, when an invitation to call appears directly before an acknowledgment that the debtor can write to exercise her rights under §1692g, the debtor would be left uncertain about whether she should call or write to exercise her rights.
Moyer sees confusion where none exists. The Validation Notice instructs the debtor to write to exercise their §1692g rights, leaving no suggestions that a phone call would suffice. Likewise, the Contact Sentence does not suggest that a debtor could exercise any §1692g rights over the phone. And the order of the paragraphs does not create confusion about what each one conveys. See Wilson, 225 F.3d at 356 (holding that a paragraph demanding immediate payment of a debt that preceded a Validation Notice did not create “an actual or apparent contradiction” with the Validation Notice in violation of §1692g).