Federal Lending Laws

FDCPA (Federal Debt Collection Practices Act)

Under the FDCPA, a plaintiff may bring a civil action against a debt collector who engages in “abusive debt collection practices.” 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692(e), 1692k. The statute provides that a “debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692e.  Importantly, liability under the FDCPA attaches only to a defendant that qualifies as a “debt collector,” which is a statutorily defined term.   The FDCPA provides that  a “debt collector” is:

any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. . . . [T]he term includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting his own debts, uses any name other than his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts.

At the same time, the definition of debt collector “does not include . . . any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent such activity . . . concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6)(F)(iii).

Debt Collection FAQs from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)