In Bongiovanni v. World Financial Network Nat. Bank Recovery, 2013 WL 142080 (W.D.Wash. 2013), Judge Leighton denied a Plaintiff’s claim that a Bank’s use of the term “Recovery Department” rendered it a ‘debt collector’ under the FDCPA for collecting in the name other than the creditor’s own name.
Plaintiff’s lawsuit is based on her claim that the July 28 letter either made WFNB a debt collector itself, or made it liable as a debt collector for creating the false impression that some third party was involved in the debt collection. These alternate arguments are equally unavailing. ¶ First, the addition of the words “Recovery Department” to the name of the bank does not make the “Recovery Department” a third party seeking to collect the debt for the actual creditor. It is not “a name other than [the creditor’s] own name.” No reasonable person would conclude that the Recovery Department is some third party entity. ¶ Nor does the reference to the bank’s legal counsel suggest, imply, or in any way convey the impression that the law firm was participating in the debt collection process, when it was not. To the contrary, the letter clearly and accurately stated that the creditor bank was—in the future—going to commence a review, which could lead to additional steps, including referral to the law firm, or to a collection agency. ¶ Plaintiff seeks a continuance of Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motion, so that she may conduct discovery into the various relationships and to determine whether WFNB is a debt collector. This request is denied. No amount of additional discovery could alter the conclusion that the letter did not make WFNB a debt collector under the FDCPA as a matter of law.