Friday, March 10, 2017

High Court To Hear Case On Debt Collection Practices Violations: The Santander Suit

When issues come up that impact a large number of people, the best way to get an answer we can all rely on is to set some precedent. When the issue is of a legal nature, the best way to do this is to take your case to Court. And if you are looking for the final word on a legal matter, the United States Supreme Court is the place to check. The Supreme Court has decided a variety of issues over the years that affects us all, from the Roe v. Wade decision on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, to the Brown v. Board of Education case that dealt with integration of public schools. The decisions handed down by the Supreme Court are meant to be the supreme law of the land, and provide a clear cut answer as to what rights and duties exist in a particular circumstance. When an issue is near and dear to your heart, it is good to have guidance and an answer. One of the most near and dear issues people today have concerns their money, especially if it is at risk of being taken from them or they are fighting with a debt collector over the debt.

Debt collectors have a reputation for being hard to deal with, and for treating debtors with very little respect. In order to put some decency back into the practice of trying to collect a debt, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was made law in 1977. The aim of this Act was to prevent abusive or harassing debt collection practices, and since its inception those who come under the scope of the law have been claiming the law does not apply to their practices. One such group is a group known as debt buyers. These buyers will take defaulted debts off a lender’s hands, by paying pennies on the dollar for what is due, and then turn around and try to collect the debt. One of the largest of these types of companies is Santander, and they are the subject of a lawsuit set for review by the Supreme Court. Here is a little bit about the Santander case:

•           Four residents of Maryland who had defaulted on their car loans brought a class action against Santander for their collection practices. The claims were that Santander had misrepresented the debt and/or made direct contact with the consumers rather than going through their attorney. These acts are in direct violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and thus the consumers sought a legal remedy for the violations.
•           The case was thrown out of court because it was found that the FDCPA only applied to debt collectors and since Santander had bought the defaulted loans for pennies on the dollar they were not a collector, but rather a creditor.
               The consumers are appealing this decision, because they believe Santander is in                               fact acting as a debt collector and should be made to abide by the rules that regulate those in that practice. 

While all of this is going on, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is also looking at ways to tighten the regulations that govern debt collectors’ actions. The outcome of this case as well as what the CFPB is able to do could change the entire landscape of debt collection. We stay on top of these events, so we can better serve you as our client. If you are being harassed by a debt collector, call us to find out your options.
For more information about debt collection practices and what to do if you have been harassed by a debt collector, call us today or reach us online at We offer appointments at multiple locations for your convenience and can schedule a time to visit with you today.

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