Not all Plaintiffs are created equal under the FDCPA. In Bank v. Pentagroup Financial, LLC, 2009 WL 1606420 (E.D.N.Y. 2009), Judge Gleeson held that a non-debtor has no standing to pursue a claim under 15 USC 1692c (debt collector can only communicate with the debtor, his attorney, or designated representative about the debt), but did have standing to pursue a harasment claim under 15 USC 1692d. Why the difference? The text of the FDCPA. Section 1692c protects only “consumers”; section 1692d protects “persons”. A non-debtor is a “person”, but not a “consumer”.
Despite the broad language of § 1692k, various courts have found that only a “consumer” has standing to sue under particular sections of the FDCPA that specifically regulate communications “with the consumer.” See, e.g., Conboy, 84 F.Supp.2d at 504-05, n. 9 (non-consumer plaintiffs lacked standing to sue under § 1692e(11), which makes it a violation to fail to disclose debt collection information in communications “with the consumer”). One such section is § 1692c, which addresses communications in connection with debt collection. Numerous courts have noted that only a “consumer” has standing to sue under § 1692c. See Montgomery v. Huntington Bank, 346 F.3d 693, 696-97 (6th Cir.2003) (“ ‘Only a “consumer” has standing to sue for violations under 15 U.S.C. § 1692c.’ “ (quoting Wright, 22 F.3d at 649 n. 1)); see also Belin v. Litton Loan Servicing, LP, No. 8:06-cv-760-T-24, 2006 WL 1992410, at *6 (M.D.Fla. July 14, 2006) (same); Mathis v. Omnium Worldwide, No. CIV. 04-1614, 2006 WL 1582301, at *4 (D. Or. June 4, 2006) (same); Mantell v. Feingold & Levy, No. 96 C 1869, 1997 WL 45313, at *3 (N.D.Ill. Jan. 30, 1997) (same). Other courts have held that where a plaintiff alleges damage from the communication under § 1692c, he or she need not be a “consumer” in order to have standing. See Thomas v. Consumer Adjustment Co., 579 F.Supp.2d 1290, 1299 (E.D.Mo.2008) (“Though a close question, under the unique facts posed here, where the third-party alleges a direct harm and actual damages from a communication proscribed by § … 1692c(b), the Court finds such party has standing to sue under § 1692k.”); Whatley, 525 F.Supp. at 1206 n. 4. . . . [P] I agree with courts that have found non-consumers lack standing to sue under § 1692c. The section, read as a whole, is clearly intended to protect the rights of the consumer rather than the rights of third parties. The purpose of § 1692c is to protect the consumer’s privacy and reputation. However, to the extent per-sons who are not consumers are contacted by debt collectors in circumstances that amount to harassment, they are not without remedy. As discussed be-low, non-consumers may bring claims pursuant to § 1692d.