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Debt Collector’s Letter Use of the Word ‘May’ Isn’t Misleading

June 9, 2020, 11:34 PM

A debt collector’s use of the word “may” in describing consequences of not paying a debt didn’t run afoul of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Seventh Circuit ruled Tuesday.

Enhanced Recovery Co. sent Erin Johnson three letters to attempt to collect on a delinquent cellphone debt. One of the letters said Johnson’s delinquent account “may be reported to the national credit bureaus,” and she argued a reasonable person would interpret the letter’s language as a “threat to engage in credit reporting” unless the payment was made by a certain date.

Johnson said that “may” implies “future reporting” even ...