U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2016 Term


Questions Presented

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides that an entity qualifies as a “debt collector” subject to the Act if, inter alia, it “regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.”  15 U.S.C. 1692a(6).  The question presented is as follows:

Whether an entity qualifies as a “debt collector” under the foregoing definition when it has purchased a debt portfolio from another entity, including debts that are in default, and is attempting to collect those debts for its own account.

Case Updates

U.S. Supreme Court limits definition of debt collector under FDCPA

June 12, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court held that a company may collect debts that it purchased for its own account without becoming a “debt collector” subject to liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). This decision will help to reduce the significant amount of litigation brought against banks and other financial institutions under the FDCPA.

U.S. Chamber asks Supreme Court to limit definition of debt collector under FDCPA

March 27, 2017

The U.S. Chamber urged the Supreme Court to affirm a Fourth Circuit decision holding that an entity does not qualify as a “debt collector” for purposes of the FDCPA simply by purchasing debts from another entity and then attempting to collect those debts for its own account.

The Chamber’s brief argues that plaintiffs’ interpretation of the FDCPA conflicts with the statute’s text, history, and purpose. Their reading would result in a dramatic expansion of the FDCPA’s net to snare a range of financial institutions that bear little resemblance to the specialized debt-collection entities Congress intended the statute to cover. This expansion of the FDCPA’s coverage would have dramatic negative consequences. It would chill the critical secondary market for loans, drive up the cost of credit for consumers, and embolden a growing cottage industry of vexation FDCPA litigation.

The brief was filed jointly with the American Financial Services Association and the Financial Services Roundtable.

Joseph R. Palmore, Donald C. Lampe, and Seth W. Lloyd of Morrison & Foerster LLP served as co-counsel for the amici.

Case Documents