CFPB FDCPA – What is the definition of “consumer?”

Compliance > FDCPA
Q:   What is the definition of “consumer?”
A:   Pursuant to the FDCPA, the Debt Collection Rule clarifies that, for the purpose of certain provisions of the Rule, the definition of “consumer” means not only the natural person obligated or allegedly obligated on the debt but also that person’s spouse, parent (if the person is a minor), legal guardian, and confirmed successor in interest. Additionally, if the natural person obligated or allegedly obligated on the debt is deceased, the term includes the deceased person’s surviving spouse, parent (if the deceased person was a minor), an executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate (including the personal representative of the person’s estate), and a confirmed successor in interest.

The FDCPA’s expanded definition of consumer applies for purposes of 12 CFR 1006.6. Among other things, this provision of the Debt Collection Rule prohibits certain communications and attempts to communicate with a consumer about a debt and addresses third-party communications in connection with debt collection. Thus, the expanded definition of consumer
generally allows a debt collector to discuss a debt with the persons included in that expanded definition.
This Q&A was created based on information from the CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule Small Entity Compliance Guide - April 2021 (which may be updated from time to time).  This may be found on the CFPB’s website here:

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