Voting 5-3, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that debt collectors can use bankruptcy proceedings as a means to collect old debts, where the statute of limitations has expired. The court ruled that this was not a violation of the U.S. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Consumer advocates accused debt collectors of violating the law by filing tens of thousands of outdated claims with bankruptcy courts in hopes that some debtors would not object.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan joined. “Professional debt collectors have built a business out of buying stale debt, filing claims in bankruptcy proceedings to collect it, and hoping that no one notices that the debt is too old to be enforced by the courts. Debt collectors do not file these claims in good faith; they file them hoping and expecting that the bankruptcy system will fail,” Sotomayor wrote. This practice is both “unfair” and “unconscionable,” she added.
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