Fair Debt Collection Practices Act—Debt Collectors

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., No. 16-349

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act governs the conduct of “debt collectors,” a term that includes any person who “regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.” Resolving a division among the lower courts, the Supreme Court ruled today that the Act covers only those persons who collect debts owed to third parties; individuals or entities who purchase another’s debt and then try to collect are not subject to the Act.

The decision, which was unanimous, was written by Justice Gorusch, his first for the Court.