Repo Man or Loan Originator? Liability as a Debt Collector Under the FDCPA

Entities that collect debt that they own are not debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), says the United States Supreme Court. In Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., decided June 12, 2017, the court affirmed the Fourth Circuit’s interpretation of the FDCPA’s definition of debt collectors. Under 15 U.S.C. § 1692(a), a debt collector is one who “regularly collects or attempts to collect…debts owed or due…another.” How should “owed another” be interpreted? Entities collecting debts on behalf of third parties are clearly in. Loan originators are clearly out. But what about purchasers of debt? Justice Gorsuch posed the question this way: Is the debt collector “more like the repo man or the loan originator?” More