In Davis v. Hollins Law, 2016 WL 4174747, at *4–5 (9th Cir. 2016), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a debt collector’s identification of itself in a voicemail message complied with the FDCPA because a least sophisticated debtor would have known who the call was from in light of prior settlement discussions between the debtor and the debt collector.
Before Daulton’s September 25 voicemail message, Davis and Daulton had been involved in settlement negotiations for about a two week period. Davis had made a “telephone inquiry” to Daulton and had exchanged eight emails with him. At the time Daulton left the voicemail for Davis on September 25, Davis had a pending settlement offer to settle the debt for 30 percent of the total due and had asked Daulton for a status report regarding the creditor’s response. In the voicemail in question, Daulton identified himself as “Gregory at Hollins Law.” We conclude, given the extent of the prior communications, that the voicemail message’s statement that the call was from “Gregory at Hollins Law” was sufficient to disclose to a debtor with a basic level of understanding that the communication at issue was “from a debt collector,”5 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(11). Indeed, any other interpretation of Daulton’s voicemail message would be “bizarre or idiosyncratic.” Evon, 688 F.3d at 1027 (quoting Campuzano–Burgos, 550 F.3d at 298). Given the context, the call was not “false, deceptive, or misleading,” 15 U.S.C. § 1692e, and would not frustrate consumers’ ability to intelligently chart a course of action in response to a collection effort, see Donohue, 592 F.3d at 1034. Although Daulton’s voicemail message did not expressly state that Hollins Law is “a debt collector,” § 1692e(11) does not require a subsequent communication from the debt collector to use any specific language so long as it is sufficient to disclose that the communication is from a debt collector, as it was here. See Tourgeman, 755 F.3d at 1119. Because Daulton’s September 25th voicemail message was sufficient to disclose to the least sophisticated debtor that the communication at issue was “from a debt collector,” Hollins Law did not violate § 1692e(11) in its communications with Davis, and the district court erred in so holding.