“Disruptive dinnertime calls, downright deceit, and more besides drew Congress’s eye to the debt collection industry.”  That is how the most recently appointed United States Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch started his first opinion on behalf of the unanimous Supreme Court.

The full opinion can be found here https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/16-349_c07d.pdf.

The case at hand looked at who qualifies as a debt collector:

“Everyone agrees that the term embraces the repo man—someone hired by a creditor to collect an outstanding debt. But what if you purchase a debt and then try to collect it for yourself— does that make you a ‘debt collector’ too?”  The Court answered this question by strictly interpreting the statute’s definition of a “debt collector” as to embrace anyone who “regularly collects or attempts to collect . . . debts owed or due . . . another.” 15 U. S. C. §1692a(6).

The Defendant Santander in this case was held to not have qualified as a debt collector for the purposes of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977 because it had been trying to collect on loans that it purchased itself and not on someone else’s behalf.

Gorsuch said the “evolution of the debt collection business” could be a good reason for Congress to revisit and revise the old law. “After all, it’s hardly unknown for new business models to emerge in response to regulation, and for regulation in turn to address new business models.” But “[t]he proper role of the judiciary,” he concluded, is “to apply, not amend, the work of the People’s representatives.”

Katchko, Vitiello & Karikomi, PC is proud to serve consumers throughout California in legal claims of all types including TCPA, FCRA, FDCPA, foreclosure, unfair business practices, unfair debt collection, among others.


By: Alex Beyzer, June 12, 2017

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