UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
May 16, 1994
David G. Challed
Dear Mr. Challed:
This is in reply to your letter of April 20, 1994 concerning the propriety of the business name "Lawyers Collection Services" for a debt collection agency that has no lawyers on its staff. You ask whether use of the business name violates Section 807(3) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
We believe that the above-mentioned name may convey two possible impressions about the nature of the debt collector's business, both of which may be erroneous: 1) that the debt collector collects only for lawyers as clients and/or 2) that the debt collector is comprised of lawyers whose skills will be utilized in making collection attempts. According to your letter, the latter is clearly untrue; the former may or may not be untrue.
As such, we believe that the business name could have the tendency and capacity to deceive consumers into believing that dunning letters sent under such a letterhead are "from an attorney" when such is not the case, in violation of Section 807(3). Such letters could also violate Section 807(10) to the extent that they misrepresent the make-up of the debt collection agency or the character of its clients.
I hope this has been helpful.
John F. LeFevre