When someone takes and keeps property that belongs to you, and you try to get it back, are you acting as a debt collector?
What is the difference between a lawsuit for conversion and an attempt to collect debt under the FDCPA debt collection act?
This very question recently came up when Kaminsky Law was recently sued for allegedly acting as a debt collector when filing a lawsuit on behalf a client to recover the client’s property–a luxury watch. According to the lawsuit Kaminsky Law filed, an individual purchased an item from a watch retailer, obtained a refund for the item from his bank, but did not return the item to the retailer.
Kaminsky Law sued on behalf of the retailer claiming that the individual converted the property. Conversion is defined in the law as an intentional tort that occurs when someone takes property belonging to another without authority or permission or deprives another of possession or use of the property.
However, the other side filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Kaminsky Law and Anton Kaminsky personally claiming that Kaminsky Law was acting as a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.
Kaminsky Law moved to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis that suing for conversion is different than acting as a debt collector and trying to collect on a debt, especially because the retailer was not extending any credit to the individual who purchased the item, and therefore there was no debt to collect.
The Court agreed with Kaminsky Law, and cited case law from all over the country which says that Kaminsky Law was:
The Court’s decision in favor of Kaminsky Law was also featured on Law.com which reiterated that: