Monday, June 12, 2017

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349

Debt collection:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: who exactly qualifies as a “debt collector” subject to the Act’s rigors?
1 ) someone hired by a creditor to collect an outstanding debt.
2 ) But what if you purchase a debt and then try to collect it for yourself—does that make you a “debt collector” too? The answer is no.

(…) Statutory language defining the term “debt collector”: anyone who “regularly collects or attempts to collect . . . debts owed or due . . . another.” 15 U. S. C. §1692a(6).

In the very definitional section where we now find ourselves working, Congress expressly differentiated between a person “who offers” credit (the originator) and a person “to whom a debt is owed” (the present debt owner). §1692a(4). Elsewhere, Congress recognized the distinction between a debt “origi­nated by” the collector and a debt “owed or due” another. §1692a(6)(F)(ii). And elsewhere still, Congress drew a line between the “original” and “current” creditor. §1692g(a)(5). Yet no similar distinction can be found in the language now before us. To the contrary, the statutory text at issue speaks not at all about originators and cur­rent debt owners but only about whether the defendant seeks to collect on behalf of itself or “another.” And, usually at least, when we’re engaged in the business of interpret­ing statutes we presume differences in language like this convey differences in meaning. See, e.g., Loughrin v. United States, 573 U. S. ___, ___ (2014).

(U.S.S.C., June 12, 2017, Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc., Docket 16-349, J Gorsuch, unanimous).

Recouvrement de créances. La loi fédérale sur le recouvrement équitable des créances, qui prévoit des pénalités sévères à l'encontre de celui qui ne s'y conforme pas, s'applique à celui qui recouvre pour un tiers, mais pas à celui qui recouvre pour lui-même ni à celui qui recouvre pour lui-même une créance acquise d'un tiers créancier.

La présente décision est la première rendue par le Juge Gorsuch.

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