A bill collector who cries wolf, making idle threats about how it could file lawsuits or refer a case to an attorney without intending to pursue either avenue, has more to worry about than not being taken seriously by debtors.
According to the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, empty assertions could leave the debt collector on the hook for damages and attorney fees under the Fair Debt Collections and Practices Act. That’s because the act prohibits “false and misleading statements” from debt collectors, a standard that must be judged from the perspective of the least sophisticated debtor.
The full Brown v. Card Service Center opinion details the limits on bill collectors.