A Pennsylvania lawmaker has proposed a bill to force collection agencies to disclose in writing the amount they claim the consumer owes and the age of the debt they are trying to collect.
The bill proposed by Rep. Pete Daley, D-Allegheny County, under the memo heading Protecting Consumers from Unfair Debt Collection, is an amendment to the states Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act of 2000.
The laws in Pennsylvania pertaining to debt collections are, by comparison to others, very adequate. The Pennsylvania Attorney Generals office has done some amazing work in enforcing the law and prosecuting offenders, Daley said. This legislation seeks to add one additional requirement to the law that simply asks debt collectors and creditors to fully disclose the debt or judgment being sought against someone and provides those subjects with the knowledge that the debt or judgment can be lawfully collected at that time.
The new proposal would apply to both third-party collectors and creditors and is considered important to consumers because, as Pete Macky, an attorney with North Penn Legal Services in Sunbury, Pa., told the Meadville (Pennsylvania) Tribune: "Requiring debt collectors to disclose that debts are too old for legal action would help consumers who might be fooled into making a good-faith effort to satisfy a debt only to arm the debt collector to go after them in court."
The state already has a number of rules governing the conduct of collection agencies including: only allowed to call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., or at work if they are told that an employer approves of personal calls; can only contact other people to try to locate person, and they are not supposed to say they are calling about a debt; cannot use harassing conduct or language; and not allowed to lie in order to get a person pay a debt.
??Macky expect some credit card companies and banks will lobby hard to bury Daley's bill.