In Bridge v. Ocwen Federal Bank, FSB, — F.3d —-, 2012 WL 1470146 (6th Cir. 2012), the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a creditor who acquires a debt portfolio, part of which is in default, is a debt collector under the FDCPA for that portion of the portfolio that was in default at the time of assignment or if the creditor treated the debt as if it was in default at the time of the assignment.
Therefore, we hold that the definition of debt collector pursuant to § 1692a(6)(F)(iii) includes any non-originating debt holder that either acquired a debt in default or has treated the debt as if it were in default at the time of acquisition. It matters not whether such treatment was due to a clerical mistake, other error, or intention. Thus, a FDCPA defendant cannot escape coverage under the Act by asserting to the court that the debt was not actually in default, despite having dunned plaintiffs for months or years in the face of plaintiffs’ pleas or proof that the collector has made some error. A defendant may not retroactively change the status of the plaintiff it has pursued as an alleged debtor. To hold otherwise would defy the clear congressional mandate we are charged with upholding.