Another interesting excerpt from the Midland / Brent opinion:
In addition to clerical mistakes, the Sixth Circuit has also allowed the bona fide error defense for mistakes of law.
Jerman, 538 F.3d at 472-73. The debt collector in Jerman sent a letter that included the statement that a dispute of the debt must be made in writing. Id. at 570.
In actuality, the FDCPA does not require debtors to make their disputes in written form.
See 1692g(a)(3) (requiring a debt collector to send the consumer a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector[.]) The Court concluded that the FDCPA lacks any language that restricts errors to just those clerical in nature, and therefore errors involving mistakes of law qualify, as long as they meet the above test. Jerman, 538 F.3d at 476. [emphasis added]
I’ve seen MANY collection letters demanding WRITTEN disputes and many collectors REFUSE telephone disputes categorically.