In Vinson v. Credit Control Services, Inc.— F.Supp.2d —-, 2012 WL 6137916 (D.Mass. 2012), Judge Tauro held that a debt collector did not violate the FDCPA’s time/place/manner restrictions by calling within the proper time zone even though the customer’s municipality applied a different time zone.
Vinson claims that Credit Control Services violated the statute by calling her after 9:00 p.m., a time presumed to be inconvenient. Credit Control Services admits that it placed the call at 9:39 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (“EST”). But it argues that, because Vinson lives in Alabama, located in the Central time zone, she received the call at 8:39 p.m. Central Standard Time (“CST”). Vinson counters that while the state of Alabama does fall in the Central time zone, her home town of Valley, Alabama, actually adheres to EST. Thus, she concludes, she received the call after 9:00 p.m. “local time at the consumer’s location.” The parties do not dispute that Credit Control Services placed the call to Vinson at 9:39 p.m. EST. ¶ When interpreting a federal statute, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 requires that a court apply United States standard time zones.FN20 [FN20. See 15 U.S.C. § 262 (“In all statutes, orders, rules, and regulations relating to the time … within which any act shall or shall not be performed by any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, it shall be understood and intended that the time shall … be the United States standard time of the zone within which the act is to be performed.”).] Alabama is in the Central time zone.FN21 Vinson has not directed the court to any authority that would allow a municipality to deviate from federal time zones for purposes of federal law. Thus, as a matter of law, Vinson received the phone call at 8:39 p.m. Her claim under the FDCPA fails.
All right, I confess, I had to read the footnote to see what the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was.