In Strobel v. RJM Acquisitions, Inc, here, Judge Seybert found that a debt collector’s reference to it’s A+ rating with the BBB was not a deceptive or unfair act under the FDCPA.
Here, Plaintiff argues that the Letter’s inclusion of an A† rating from the BBB bolsters Defendant’s reputation and decreases the likelihood that the least sophisticated consumer would question the validity of the debt. (Pl.’s Opp. Br., Docket Entry 16, at 15.) While Plaintiff has alleged that this statement is misleading, it is not disputed that Defendant indeed has an A† rating from the BBB. Plaintiff’s opposition, however, makes a number of statements regarding a pay for play scheme–in which some businesses have purportedly obtained a higher rating through payments [*8] to the BBB–as well as a reference to a Federal Trade Commission investigation of Defendant. (Pl.’s Opp. Br. 13-15.) Other than stating that Defendant paid for the BBB rating, none of these allegations are contained in the Complaint. In any event, they are not directly relevant to how, if at all, a BBB accreditation and rating would impact the least sophisticated consumer. The Court agrees with Defendant that there is only one way to read the representations at issue–that Defendant has an A† rating from the BBB. This statement carries no connotation regarding the character, amount, or legal status of any debt or Plaintiff’s rights regarding any such debt. Nor does a statement regarding the BBB indicate that Defendant is in any way affiliated with any governmental entity. The Court fails to see how a BBB accreditation and rating suggests any relevant meaning whatsoever. To the extent that it does, however, it is not material. See Walsh, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136408, 2012 WL 4372251, at *4 ([I]mmaterial statements, by definition, do not affect a consumer’s ability to make intelligent decisions concerning an alleged debt. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); see also Lane, 767 F. Supp. 2d at 389 ([R]eferences [*9] to the laws of the United States . . . . merely explain BMC’s place of incorporation and licensing . . . [they do] not suggest, even to an unsophisticated consumer, that BMC is acting on behalf of the United States.²) (emphasis omitted)). Moreover, and as the least sophisticated consumer standard itself connotes, the FDCPA does not protect idiosyncratic interpretations. See supra pp. 5-6. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in this regard is GRANTED.