Debt Collector: Definition – NMP Skip to main content

Debt Collector: Definition

Jonathan Foxx
Sep 22, 2016

Question: With all the news about debt collection practices, it would be good to know just what a debt collector does. So, what is a “debt collector?”

The term “debt collector” largely defines what types of entities are subject to the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The definition of “debt collector” includes two general parts: (1) affirmative inclusions of persons covered by the definition, and (2) the express exclusions of persons from the definition. This can be somewhat confusing, so let’s clarify further.

The following outline provides the affirmative inclusions of persons in the definition of “debt collector,” given three basic prongs of the definition. In this answer, I am only going to treat the inclusions, not the exclusions.

As defined under the FDCPA, the term “debt collector” is:

►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;

►Any person who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another; or

►Notwithstanding the exclusion provided in the FDCPA § 1692a(6)(F) (viz., which is the section that excludes from being a “debt collector” any persons collecting on an obligation they originated or obtained while not in default), any creditors who, in the process of collecting their own debts, uses any name other than their own that would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts.[15 USC § 1692A(6)]

The section I have referred to above, 15 USC § 1692A(6), also includes a special definition of “debt collector” solely for the purpose of the section in the FDCPA that involves unfair practices [(§ 1692f(6)]. This special definition covers “any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests.”

Jonathan Foxx is president and managing director of Lenders Compliance Group, Brokers Compliance Group, Servicers Compliance Group and Vendors Compliance Group, national companies devoted to providing regulatory compliance advice and counsel to the mortgage industry. He may be contacted by phone at (516) 442-3456, by e-mail at [email protected] or visit


Sep 22, 2016
CFPB Alters Threshold For Exempting Loans From Special Appraisal Requirements

The 2022 threshold for exempting loans from special appraisal requirements for higher-priced mortgage loans will increase from $27,200 to $28,500. 

Regulation and Compliance
Dec 02, 2021
Regulatory Review, Reformatted

The progress made to date with NMLS modernization

Regulation and Compliance
Dec 01, 2021
November Surprise: Fed May Accelerate Tapering

Chairman Powell tells Congress of concerns about inflation, COVID-19 variant’s effect on recovery.

Regulation and Compliance
Dec 01, 2021
FHFA's 2022 Conforming Loan Limit Maxes Out At Nearly $1M

Baseline limit for Fannie, Freddie increases to $647,200, but for 'high-cost areas' loan ceiling set at $970,800 for single-family homes.

Regulation and Compliance
Dec 01, 2021
Regulators Are Back In The Saddle

There’s not only a new sherriff in town, it’s a whole gang of them.

Regulation and Compliance
Nov 29, 2021
CFPB Seeks Insight On Creating A Fairer Mortgage Market

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been actively looking to create a fairer mortgage market, free of discriminatory engagements. To do so, it issued a Request for Information to seek input on rules implementing the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Regulation and Compliance
Nov 17, 2021