US Supreme Court Rules “Debt Buyers” Not “Debt Collectors” Under FDCPA

On June 12, 2017 in the case of Henson, et. al. v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., 817 F.3rd 131 (2017), the United States Supreme Court rendered an important decision that declared all debt buyers exempt from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s (“FDCPA”) definition of a “debt collector.” This decision is important because it provides clarity to banks and other debt buyers that they will not be treated as “debt collectors” subject to the penalties of the FDCPA, it will provide debt buyers with a valid defense to FDCPA litigation, and it should eliminate many unnecessary and frivolous FDCPA suits.

Most debt buyers have long believed that they should not be classified as “debt collectors” under the FDCPA, but there was a lack of case law supporting that contention. The absence of strong controlling case law led to unnecessary litigation for many debt buyers. Debt buyers can now adjust their business models to account for the Supreme Court’s decision. If a debt buyer is now sued under the FDCPA, the Henson decision will act as the first line of defense in rebuffing such a suit. As word of the Supreme Court’s decision quickly spreads through the legal community, Plaintiff’s attorneys who have made a habit of suing debt buyers for alleged FDCPA violations should quickly change course and cease what will now be considered frivolous litigation.

If you believe you may qualify as a debt buyer that should be protected from classification as a “debt collector” under the FDCPA and are facing the threat of a potential suit, or even a pending suit, call us today to discuss how we may be able to defend your interests. The Henson decision will give you additional leverage to help make these threats and lawsuits go away.

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