Supreme Court Rules on Debt Collection

June 12, 2017

On Monday, June 12, 2017, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Henson v. Santander.  In a unanimous decision written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court unanimously affirmed the Fourth Circuit decision, the result CBA’s joint-trade amicus brief urged.  In particular, the Court held a company may collect debts it purchased for its own ac­count, as Santander did, without triggering the statutory defi­nition in dispute.  By defining debt collectors to include those who regularly seek to collect debts “owed . . . another,” the statute’s plain language seems to focus on third party collection agents regularly col­lecting for a debt owner—not on a debt owner seeking to collect debts for itself.