Credit Card Banks Are Rarely “Debt Collectors”

by Donald Petersen on July 31, 2011

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Credit card banks that issued the credit card and other creditors who originated or serviced the account, loan or other debt before the debt went into default and continue to own the debt are NOT “debt collectors” and would not be covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s prohibitions against collection harassment and other debt collection abuse.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act generally defines a “debt collector” as :

“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.”

15 U.S.C. Section 1692a(6).

But, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act excludes the following categories (among others) from being “debt collectors” :

(1) “any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor”; and

(2) “any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for persons to whom it is so related and if the principal business of such person is not the collection of debts.”

15 U.S.C. Section 1692a(6). FDCPA, Section 803. In contrast, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) protects Florida consumers from harassment and abuse even when the perpetrator is an original creditor.

A surprisingly large number of consumers (including consumers represented by lawyers), filed complaints alleging that an original creditor violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). I understand that consumers who read self help advice on various websites discussing credit, debt,
credit repair, debt settlement, etc. probably receive at least as much incorrect advice as correct statements of the law. But, even lawyers who are probably inexperienced with Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases drove some of the clunkers to the courthouse.

During recent year, the federal courts dismissed at least ten FDCPA causes of action against original creditors.

The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) applies to creditors as well as debt collectors. But, the FCCPA does not provide consumers with all of the rights that the FDCPA does.

Florida consumers who believe they may have been harassed or abused by collection agencies and other debt collectors or by creditors, are welcome to describe their problem in the Collection Harassment Form in the right hand column. I will contact you to discuss the collection harassment and other collection efforts against you.

(C) 2011 Donald E. Petersen
All rights reserved.

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