David Dayen’s Take on Henson v. Santander

Here in The American Prospect.  Excerpt:

[The case] gave some of the worst bottom-feeders in the economy a free pass to break the law.

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“It's almost a road map to me on how you can avoid the FDCPA,” says noted consumer bankruptcy attorney Max Gardner, who runs a boot camp for lawyers fighting predatory lenders. As an international bank, for example, Santander could easily argue that its principal purpose is not debt collection, but originating loans. Other debt buyers could follow the “Santander defense.”

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April Kuehnhoff, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center [says] “Now consumers are not going to know whether this person calling them is covered or isn’t covered [by the act]. I think it raises a lot of difficulty in private enforcement.”

Kuehnhoff adds that Congress needs to get involved right away to fix this newly created hole, rather than wait and see how the industry adapts. Indeed, that was Justice Gorsuch’s conclusion as well, that Congress could merely update the statute by applying it to debt buyers to reflect the changing times. Max Gardner believes that’s a pipe dream with the current Congress. “That’s going to happen as soon as Trump reveals his tax returns,” he says.

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