UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
December 22, 1992
Mr. Thomas Isgrigg
Dear Mr. Isgrigg:
This is in response to your letter of December 2, 1992 supplementing the information provided in your inquiry of September 18, 1992. My understanding of the information contained in both letters is as follows:
The term "debt collector" is defined in Section 803(6) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") as "any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another . . .." Your first letter or contact discussed above may result in monies being paid to your firm by former patients. Additionally, the ultimate goal of your actions under the proposed contract with Los Angeles County is the collection of past due accounts. Therefore, it is clear that the sending of such a letter is an attempt to "collect directly or indirectly" debts owed or due to Los Angeles County. Therefore, at the time you mail the collection letter your firm would become subject to all of the requirements of the FDPCA, including Section 809, and would continue to be subject to the FDCPA for any subsequent collection efforts on behalf of Los Angeles County. Failure by a collector to comply with the provisions of the FDCPA could result in an enforcement action by this agency.
Please be advised that the comments in my letter of November 10, 1992 concerning the use of the name United States Credit Bureau remain unchanged.
The opinions expressed herein are unofficial and not binding on the Commission; however, they do represent the current enforcement position of the staff.
I hope this information will be helpful.
Roger J. Fitzpatrick