Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Consumer Credit
  • Date Filed: June 12, 2017
  • Case #: No. 16–349
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: GORSUCH, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
  • Full Text Opinion

A debt purchaser is not a “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Petitioners’ car loans were purchased by Respondent. Petitioners sued Respondent for unfair debt collecting under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The district court and the Fourth Circuit held that Respondent was not a debt collector, because it was not collecting debts “owed . . . another”; rather, it was collecting debts it owned. The Supreme Court determined that the language defining “debt collectors” under 15 U. S. C. §1692a(6), “regularly collects or attempts to collect . . . debts owed or due . . . another,” does not include debt purchasers, because the clear meaning and context of the statute excluded debts owned by the party collecting the debt. The Court held that Congress was the proper forum to determine whether Respondent should or should not be classified as a debt collector. AFFIRMED.

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