Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch issued his first opinion this week. We learned a lot from this opinion. Unfortunately, the most important thing we learned was that he can come to any conclusion he wants – that makes him a perfect fit for the Supreme Court. This opinion is being heralded as well written and Gorsuch is praised for his “Melodic Phrasing” (ABC) and his “Writing Flair” (FOX). What was lost in all the praise was the simple fact that with one opinion, Justice Gorsuch eliminated the whole of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – 15 USC 1692).
The primary requirement when a judge is interpreting a law is to give the law some meaning. What the Court ruled was that to avoid the FDCPA completely, all a debt collector has to do is buy the debt instead of collect the debt for another. Nothing in the opinion states that a collector can not have a sell back provision and sell a debt back to the original lender if the collector is unable to collect.
Bottom line: A lender and a debt collector can now write their agreement in such a way as to completely avoid the FDCPA. Justice Gorsuch has now given the FDCPA no meaning. For the 50% of adults in America who have debts: You just lost your right to not be harassed.