On January 18, 2022, Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc. (Preferred) filed its brief in Hunstein vs. Preferred Collection & Management Services, Inc. At issue in this chapter of the Hunstein saga is whether Mr. Hunstein has standing to bring the suit. This article provides the history of the Hunstein matter and how we got here.
In this chapter of Hunstein, the full panel of judges sitting on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will be deciding whether the Supreme Court’s June 2021 opinion TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190, 2204 (2021), precludes Mr. Hunstein’s ability to maintain his lawsuit. To convince the panel that Mr. Hunstein lacks standing, among other points, Preferred argued that:
Mr. Hunstein did not suffer a concrete as defined by the Supreme Court in Transunion
Agents acting for a principal, like a letter vendor acting for a debt collector, are not third parties
The FDCPA permits communications and data transmissions to vendors
The ruling improperly prohibits commercial speech
Even if there was a disclosure of information, it was to an agent of the debt collector, not the public
Letter vendors are contemplated and permitted under Regulation F.
Several interested parties filed amicus briefs in support of Preferred’s position, including:
State Creditor Bar Associations (filed jointly in a single brief)
Mortgage Bankers, Association, American Bankers Association, American, Financial Services Association, Consumer Bankers, Association, Credit Union National Association, And Housing Policy Council (filed jointly in a single brief)
As noted in the original Hunstein opinion, prohibiting debt collectors from using letter vendors does little to nothing to protect consumers. An argument could be made that it harms consumers, by requiring debt collectors to refrain from using experts for critical consumer communications, but that is a different article for a different day. While standing is an important question, unless and until the merits of the case are addressed by the Eleventh circuit or another circuit in a copycat case, the effects of the Hunstein opinion will continue to affect the ARM industry in unpleasant ways.