Collection Calls from Unifund CCR Partners

May 28, 2014

Unifund CCR Partners was founded in 1986 and was one of the first companies to purchase defaulted consumer receivables. Unifund‘s founder and chief executive officer, David G. Rosenberg, founded Unifund to purchase and collect returned checks. In 1989, Unifund began buying distressed loan portfolios on a national scale from small banks and retailers. One year later, the company began purchasing portfolios from large financial institutions. Unifund CCR is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and it is one of the largest buyers and operators of consumer debt in the nation.

In Unifund CCR Partners vs. Youngman, the court reversed a lower court order granting Unifund CCR Partner’s motion for summary judgment. Unifund CCR alleged that it was the assignee of Chase Bank, and sued the consumer for breach of contract and account stated, seeking to recover attorneys’ fees and the balance owed on a credit card issued to the consumer. The lower court granted Unifund CCR’s motion for summary judgment, but the appellate court held that the consumer’s cross motion for summary judgment should have been granted instead. The Appellate Court concluded that, to establish standing, Unifund CCR was required to “submit evidence in admissible form establishing that Chase had assigned its interest in [the consumer’s] debt to [Unifund CCR],” but it failed to do so. Unifund CCR submitted an affidavit of its agent, a “Legal Liaison” employed by Unifund CCR rather than Chase, as well as credit card statements and account balance documents. The Court found that Unifund CCR did not submit the “requisite business records to establish its standing.” The “Legal Liaison” employed by Unifund CCR did not establish personal knowledge of Chase’s business practices or procedures, and failed to establish “when, how, or by whom the credit card statements and account balance documents were made and kept.” Because Unifund CCR did not establish a proper foundation for the admission of the credit card statements and account balance documents under the business record exception to the hearsay rule, the appellate court held that Unifund CCR did not establish its standing as assignee of Chase Bank. Thus, the consumer’s motion for summary judgment against Unifund CCR was granted.