DC City Council Hosts November 29 Meeting on Permanent Debt Collection Legislation

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The public hearing will allow to comment legislation focused on debt collection restrictions and consumer protection. Registration to testify is scheduled for Friday, November 26.

24/11/2021 09:00

Washington, DC city council will meet next week to consider a standing bill that could finalize changes related to consumer communication and debt documentation.

The “2021 Law on Amendments to the Consumer Protection Against Unfair Debt Collection Act of 2021(Bill 24-357) is open for public comment at the board meeting on Monday, November 29 public audience. Those who wish to testify must visit the site of the president of the municipal council before 5 p.m. EST on Friday, November 26.

The stated purpose of Bill 24-357 is “to ensure that all consumer debts fall under the Consumer Protection Act; prohibit debt collectors from engaging in deceptive and harassing behavior, including threatening to divulge information about consumer debts and limiting the number of phone calls a debt collector can make to a consumer during of a given week; implement specific requirements for a debt collector when bringing a cause of action against a consumer for a consumer debt; allow damages and other costs to be awarded to a consumer when a debt collector breaks the law; prohibit the imprisonment or imprisonment of any consumer for non-payment of consumer debt; and to codify consumer protections related to debt collection during a public health emergency declared by the mayor.

For the background, Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a temporary version of the bill in September, ACA International has already reported.

The legislation aimed to modernize the district’s debt collection law – written in 1971 – and to establish temporary updates to the debt collection laws before the restrictions on debt collection communications ended in late September.

Bill 24-357 aims to finalize and replace temporary legislation that was enacted in response to consumer hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow additional protections for consumers if a public health emergency is declared by the mayor. Temporary legislation currently in place would expire on June 9, 2022, if not replaced by a permanent bill before that date.

Debt collectors can contact consumers about their accounts and collect payments, but note that call limitations and new documentation requirements are in place while the review of Bill 24-357 takes place. continues.

Some of the current requirements in Washington, DC include:

  • A debt collector cannot call a consumer for more than three days in a seven day period. However, calls initiated by the consumer or made by a collection agent at the request of a consumer do not count towards the call limit of three calls per seven day period.
  • Detailed notices of the amount claimed by the consumer are required. However, if the debt is from a credit card, itemized accounting will be measured from the cancellation balance and will include copies of the cancellation statement and the last monthly statement recording a purchase transaction, last payment, or a balance transfer. . This amendment removes the following wording from the original legislation:If the debt is from a credit card, the account must include the last 24 periodic statements required by the Truth in Lending Act, 15. USC Section 1637 (b), which document the transactions, purchases, fees and charges that make up the debt.Removing this language ensures that consumers receive relevant information regarding their debt, including fees, etc., without receiving a large volume of statements or documents. Additional language is needed for credit card debt because of the limitations of the information banks can provide to debt collectors.
  • Debt collectors are required to send a notice to consumers that their account information, such as the name of the original creditor as well as the name of the current creditor or owner of the debt, is available, rather than asking the debt collector to send this unsolicited information after an initial communication.

The ACA encourages its members to register to testify at the public hearing by site visit for the sponsor of the legislation, President of the City Council Phil Mendelson, by the deadline of Friday, November 26.

Bill 24-257 is to be considered in a second public hearing and goes through the legislative review process in Washington, DC

“ACA and the Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association continue to work with a large industry coalition for sensible amendments to pending legislation, but until a permanent bill is passed or the temporary legislation expires. , what currently exists is the law to land in DC, ”said Andrew Madden, ACA vice president of state and government affairs.

The Mid-Atlantic Collectors Association continued to work closely with industry trade groups on legislative changes.

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