- Court: Oregon Supreme Court
- Area(s) of Law: Consumer Credit
- Date Filed: 04-27-2017
- Case #: S063978
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Balmer, C.J. for the Court; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; Landau, J.; Brewer, J.; Nakamoto, J.; & Baldwin, S.J. pro tempore.
- Full Text Opinion
Plaintiffs, a lawyer and his law firm, appealed from the Court of Appeals’ decision reversing parts of the trial court’s judgment, which held “that the UTPA did not apply to plaintiffs’ debt collection activities.” Plaintiffs argued that ORS 646.607(1) did not apply to their activities “because their relationship with the debtors [was] not a customer relationship . . . between plaintiffs as a business and debtors as direct customers of that business.” The Court disagreed, instead concluding that, the term “unconscionable tactics” does not require a customer relationship, and was intended “to apply in connection with an obligor/obligee relationship.” Plaintiffs also argued that ORS 646.608(1)(b) did not apply to their “debt collection activities,” but, rather, it “only applie[d] to false or misleading representations to consumers about their own goods or services.” The Supreme Court examined the statute and concluded that, to be liable under ORS 646.608(1)(b), “the person must ‘cause’ the likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding experienced by the other person,” and “the causal relationship must ‘arise out of transactions which are at least indirectly connected with the ordinary and usual course of [the person’s] business, vocation or occupation.’” The decision of the Court of Appeals was affirmed. The judgment of the circuit court was affirmed in part and reversed in part.