Supreme Court will hear dispute over debt collectors' use of Ohio attorney general letterhead

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will decide whether a debt collector’s use of official Ohio attorney general letterhead violated the federal fair debt collection law.

The justices said Friday they will hear an appeal from state officials seeking to overturn a lower court decision that found the letterhead was deceptive.

At issue are the tactics of law firms hired by the attorney general’s office to collect debts on behalf of the state agency.

Two women who received debt collection notices from the law firms sued, saying it was misleading to send notices on stationary that had the name of Attorney General Mike DeWine and the seal of his office on top.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the letterhead was a “deception” that could inappropriately influence consumers’ decisions.