Is this a Consumer Debt or a Business Debt?
James Moore purchased computer equipment from ABC Electronics for the grocery store he had operated for almost his entire life. Repeated illnesses forced him to close the store, however, and he was unable to make payments and finally defaulted.
ABC wrote him three letters and then referred the matter to a collection agency.
The agency called Moore at his place of business several times, and each time they got a recorded message. Then, after a search at the county clerk's office turned up Moore's home address, the agency began placing calls to his home.
After the fourth call, Moore consulted an attorney and instituted a suit against the agency for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Moore charged that the telephone calls constituted an abuse of debt collection practices and that since he was an individual doing business as a trade name, he should be covered under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The agency argued that Moore was a business debtor, and that therefore the transaction was not a consumer transaction and should not be covered under the FDCPA.
Who is right?