Paul D. S. Edwards
Dear Mr. Edwards:
You request a staff opinion concerning § 805 (a) (2) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). That section reads as follows:
You inquire whether the term "attorney" in § 805 (a) (2) may be interpreted to include the agent of a debtor to whom the debtor has given a power of attorney for purposes of paying the debt.
There is nothing in the legislative history of the FDCPA to indicate that Congress intended the term "attorney" to include all agents of whatever nature. Nor is the term "attorney" commonly used to refer to a mere "agent" in the context of a "principal-agent" relationship. Indeed, we believe that the most commonly understood meaning of the word denotes who has graduated from law school and passed a bar examination of at least one state. If Congress had meant to include all "agents," it would have used that term in the statute. We believe any other interpretation, without more concrete evidence to support it, is strained and inappropriate.
The views expressed herein represent an informal staff opinion. As such they are not binding on the Commission. They do, however, reflect the staff's current enforcement position.
Thomas E. Kane