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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Indiana appellate court finds debt company violated FDCPA and Indiana’s deceptive consumer sales act

Courts Indiana Deceptive Debt Collection FDCPA


Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals of Indiana affirmed a state trial court’s decision concluding that the defendant was a debt collector under both the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the FDCPA when it purchased and collected defaulted debt.  The Court of Appeals rejected the defendant’s argument in its motion for partial summary judgment arguing it was not a debt collector under both statutes because the plaintiff’s debt was owned by it and due to it, and it did not collect debts owed by another. The court reviewed the evidence that the defendant purchased defaulted debt and utilized agencies to contact consumers as its primary business pursuit. The court found the defendant was a “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 a “debt collector” under 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). It likewise concluded that the defendant was a “debt collector under” the state statute because Ind. Code § 24-5-0.5-2(a)(13) incorporated the FDCPA’s definition of debt collector and “[t]he term includes a debt buyer (as defined in IC 24-5-15.5).”