Today my good friend and occasional opposing counsel, Charity A. Olson and I gave a speech to the Oakland County Bench/Bar convention. I sue debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Charity defends them. She is as good as it gets when it comes to defense counsel. We presented a joint talk from both of our perspectives. Its was great fun, until….I took a question from Chiara F. Mattieson. She is a collection attorney with Holzman, Ritter and Corkery, PLLC.
During my speech, I informed the crowd how I had located a ghost debtor on Facebook. A ghost debtor is someone who is off the grid. He has no home address that I could find, no car registered in his name and no real estate. I could not find this guy until I found him on Facebook and then I was able to locate all sorts of information on him. Anyways, I sent this debtor a friend invitation which he accepted. Ms. Mattieson then asked me “Weren’t you required to give him the mini-Miranda when you send your friend invitation on FB?” This requirement under the FDCPA is where you have to warn a debtor that your communication to him is from a debt collector.
Boy…she got me right there…on the spot…uh…uh….may be. She might have been right. But, as I thought about it through lunch, it occurred to me that no, I did not need to give this guy the mini-Miranda when I sent him a friend invitation through FB because my communication was not in connection with the collection of a debt.
After lunch, I saw Chiara in the parking lot. As some of you may know, I hold a first degree black belt in karate. I told Chiara that as long as we were in the parking lot….that I had an answer for her question. She was as gracious and friendly as could me as we discussed the pros and cons of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Kudos to Holzman Ritter and Corkery for hiring as an intelligent and astute attorney as Chiara Mattieson. Chiara, if you read this post, I want you to know that it is attorneys like you that make me proud to be part of our profession. You intellectually challenged me and by making me thinking through an answer, you made me that much of a better lawyer. Thank you.
I will be ready for your questions next time!
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If you have any debt collection related questions, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation. Visit our website at www.creditor-law.com. For more information about collection law, follow our blog at www.michigancollectionlawblog.com or call (888) 293-2882.