NOT MISLEADING: Court Holds Debt Collector’s Use of Local Area Code Did Not Violate FDCPA

Another quick one for you.

Much is being made right now about so-called “local touch” DIDs. Some courts consider it spoofing (it isn’t). And in some instances it is leading to lawsuits.

Well in Wilson v. Radius, 2023 WL 6388786 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 29, 2023) the Court held the use of a local caller ID by an out-of-state debt collector did not violate the FDCPA’s restriction on misleading conduct in the collection of a debt:

Next, Wilson argues that summary judgment should not be granted in RGS’s favor because the local area code did influence her decision to return RGS’s calls. What is more, she argues, the use of a local area code might influence an unsophisticated consumer’s decision to answer or return a debt collector’s call. But, as discussed, there is no support for the proposition that every potential decision made by a consumer falls within § 1692e. Wilson’s argument is especially tortured in light of her testimony that she would have answered the call if it came from a non-local area code but would not have called back. As before, Seventh Circuit caselaw weighs in favor of misleadingness meaning, for this purpose, misleading a consumer in terms of whether to pay a debt, not whether to take minor administrative steps ancillary to payment. For these reasons, even if she had standing, the Court would find that Wilson has not established a genuine question of material fact as to whether RGS violated § 1692e.

That’s a nice win and reminds everyone that the FDCPA–like the TCPA–has limits, even if it is a consumer protection statute.

For more great tips for collectors making outbound calls be sure to check out this killer interview with Arbeit U!:

Chat soon!



  1. If that’s not ‘spoofing’ then just what is spoofing (from the victims perspective)???????

    Clearly it’s an attempt to mislead the consumer. How can anyone logically (other a TCPA defense atty) think otherwise – DUH!!!!!!!

    Why not just use their actual number?

    And what ever happened to Deserve to Win Issue #1 you’re already showing issue #2??

  2. This ruling seemed so crazy that I had to look it up and read it, but this is just another case of bad facts making bad law. The defendant was trying to collect a legitimate debt, and the plaintiff didn’t have much evidence that the deceptive caller ID had harmed her in any way. Article III, blah blah blah, case dismissed.

    Still, the court had to apply some twisted logic to say that an intentionally misleading act somehow isn’t misleading for purposes of the FDCPA. Let’s look at why a collector would use a local phone number when it doesn’t have an office in the area: First, it tricks recipients into answering the phone or returning the calls. Second, it deceives consumers into thinking that the collector is nearby and might be more willing to sue in local courts. And finally, it obscures the collector’s true location so that AG or BBB complaints are likely to be filed in the wrong jurisdiction. Seems like this is exactly the sort of thing Congress had in mind when they wrote the law?

    Maybe a dishonest caller ID doesn’t cause any harm when the collector is otherwise going by the book and is asking for payment on a real debt. However, this “local DID” practice is more commonly associated with companies who are always in trouble for other FDCPA and TCPA violations, or who use predictive dialers to call every number in the Lexis database without consent. Now those sleazebags have another opinion they can cite.

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