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Debt Collection Letters and Barcodes

Thursday, August 13, 2015 - Posted by Philip Harvey

In Pennsylvania, a Judge has ruled that a debt collection agency has breached the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by printing a bar code on the outside of an envelope.

This is because of smartphone bar-code readers and the increases the risk if identity theft. When the bar code is scanned, it reveals the reference number of the debt under collection.

The FDCPA provides that only a debtors address should be on an envelope (s1692f(8))

This follows similar rulings pertaining to information on an envelope other than the debtors address including:

  • QR codes not being permitted on the outside of envelopes, where the QR code revealed the name of the Debtor.
  • Account reference numbers not being permitted as they could reveal the financial position of the debtor.

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