Bill to Amend FDCPA for Attorneys Introduced in U.S. House

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In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that aims to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to exclude attorneys from the definition of a debt collector “when taking certain actions.”

But due to the timing of the introduction, the bill will not be heard in the current Congress and will need to be re-introduced in the next session, due to begin Thursday.

North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, Jr. filed H.R.6706 — the Fair Debt Collection Practices Technical Correction Act of 2012 – on December 27, 2012. The bill’s stated purpose is “to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to preclude law firms and licensed attorneys from the definition of a debt collector when taking certain actions.”

Specifically, the bill would insert an additional exemption to the definition of “debt collector.” The new language is as follows:

…The term (debt collector) does not include –

(F) any law firm or licensed attorney–

(i) serving, filing, or conveying formal legal pleadings, discovery requests, or other documents pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure; or

(ii) communicating in, or at the direction of, a court of law or in depositions or settlement conferences, in connection with a pending legal action to collect a debt on behalf of a client; and…

The new language is to be added to the section of the FDCPA that already exempts creditors, government employees, and others.

Although the bill cannot be heard by the 112th Congress, Jones handily won re-election in November, allowing him to reintroduce the bill any time after Thursday when the 113th Congress convenes.

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Posted in Collection Law Firms, Collection Laws and Regulations, FDCPA, Featured Post .

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  • avatar DONALD DALY says:

    Why not just exclude everyone? Law firms have also been named as offenders so why should they be granted immunity on a law that has been on the books three decades, as it applies to lawyers? If they are collecting debts they are debt collectors, like it or not.

  • avatar Ameripay says:

    Donald -

    I know you are a debtor and therefore extremely dumb. I’ll try to make it easier to understand than above (if this is possible). You may be THE least-sophisticated consumer we are talking about.

    The bill does not exempt law firms that are in the business of debt collection. It exempts attorney Joe Blow who does everything from estates to the occasional eviction to being labeled as a debt collector.

  • avatar FriendoftheCourt says:

    Ameripay, you are misreading the proposed legislation.

    It relieves the lawyer, ANY LAWYER, from liability under the FDCPA for “violations” allegedly incurred in the lawyer’s action in initiating or responding to litigation covered by the Rules of Civil Procedure or if the lawyer is acting under the order of the court for the action.

    As the lawyer already has a great deal of this immunity already, I think the legislation is useless. It does, however, clarify the situation as law as opposed to it being only customary.

  • avatar DONALD DALY says:

    Isn’t it a sign of the times that someone named only as AMERIPAY can comment on publications that he/she can’t began to fathom, and remain unnamed so he/she can bask in his/her ignorance.

  • avatar LindaP says:

    Well, let’s have an automatic conviction of perjury when they place a lien on the wrong piece of real estate – to the point that the clerk of court says “Oh yeah, they’ve been passing that one around for a while.” and there is no other matching information except first and last name.

    I’m a business owner, I employed collection agencies when necessary, but when I go to refinance a property and then get hit with this kind of “legal” action, lose my rate-lock because this “lawyer” is being allowed to commit perjury with impunity, I think he should be prosecuted and put in jail just like I would be if I dared to commit perjury.

    If you think I’m fuming at collection lawyers, I am.

  • avatar jessie-gomez says:

    Donald, Ameripay is a deadbeat consumer that troll this board because he/she is upset because NCO collections spank him very good.

  • avatar Steve Gold says:

    Calm down, everyone. This proposed legislation addresses a very specific but limited situation. In some jurisdictions lawyers believe that when they serve a summons and complaint to commence a lawsuit on behalf of the creditor plaintiff they must comply with the FDCPA and issue the mini-Miranda warning because it is the first communication. In addition, they fear a 30-day validation period applies. To take it to its extreme absurdity, a lawyer may worry that he commits a third party violation anytime he discusses the debt(or) with a judge, jury or court personnel. This law would exempt the attorney in these obvious circumstances by removing him from the definition of a debt collector. Now, doesn’t it make perfect sense (and you all can stop ridiculing other readers)?

  • avatar jmapes says:

    I agree that attorneys acting as collectors or collection agencies should be held to the same standard as a stand-alone collection agency and this power gives attorneys an unfair advantage over legitimate agencies. There could be a more specific amendment to say that attorneys are excluded if they’re filing summons, but not before. There are SOME very rotten attorneys out there just as much as there have been rotten agencies. That’s not to say all attorneys are bad but, running and working for collection agencies all the way back into the 90′s I’ve came across many attorneys that were debt collecting and were ignorant to the FDCPA and violated proper collection activity. As well the entire debt collection community will be held accountable for what these attorneys do and the media will not investigate enough to separate the difference between the two when a collection notice goes out.

    So, as this stands, I believe the amendment holds more risk for the collection agencies and the ARM industry than good.

  • avatar Expert Expert says:

    If we want to amend the FDCPA then we should take this opportunity to clarify and add specific language regarding attorneys involved in the debt collection industry concerning the “Meaningful Involvement Doctrine” and the recent April 21, 2010 U.S. Supreme Decision re Scotus. Attorneys always want to be “exempt” from the FDCPA for obvious reasons.

    The two articles below make the case why the FDCPA should be amended to include stronger language/penalties and holding attorneys accountable:

    1. Tomio B. Narita (author) titled: “Why The “Meaningful Involvement” Doctrine Should Not Exist Under The FDCPA,” and

    2. Cynthia Kouril (author) Friday April 30, 2010 8:22 am United States Supreme Court Decision titled: “Scotus Ruling: Hold Debt Collectors to Strict Letter of the Law!

  • avatar todd-bean says:

    Ameripay says:
    January 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Donald -

    I know you are a debtor and therefore extremely dumb. I’ll try to make it easier to understand than above (if this is possible). You may be THE least-sophisticated consumer we are talking about.

    The bill does not exempt law firms that are in the business of debt collection. It exempts attorney Joe Blow who does everything from estates to the occasional eviction to being labeled as a debt collector.
    ____________________________________________________________

    Best one ever, calling somebody extremely dumb. Then proceeding to explain to the extremely dumb person why they are dumb, and having no clue what they are talking about and totally giving the wrong answer to the extremely dumb person. LOL.

    The bill just means that a lawyer is not going to be able to get hit with a FDCPA claim of false and misleading statements or being “unfair” during litigation and discovery phase. For example, in a deposition that won’t be able to be sued for harassing the debtor during the deposition.

    It’s a fairly useless bill because there are other statutes, tougher actually, that you can go after the attorney for if they really go over the line.

    But good effort Ameripay, next time read the bill or law before you try to “explain” to somebody.

  • avatar jessie-gomez says:

    I think there should be laws on deadbeat consumers that lie in court to get out of paying their debt.

  • avatar todd-bean says:

    Jessie,

    Now you and Ameripay, both, don’t know the law. It’s already a law that attorney’s that don’t actively handle debt collection are exempt from the FDCPA (which Ameripay tries, in comic relief, to explain is what this new bill establishes when it in no way does) and perjury is also already illegal, Jessie.

    You and Ameripay need to read up on your laws and try to understand the legal system and laws before you go making fools of yourselves. “truly dumb” consumers beating you in court and having to explain the law to you must be “truly frustrating”

    Let me dumb it down even more for you and Ameripay. The laws, rules and procedures are already on the books. The problem is you both are just losing the battle and the game, so you propose changing or adding rules, but those rules are already part of the game. The problem is you’re just not good enough at the game to win.

  • avatar blesstheusa says:

    This is a blatant attempt by the foreclosure mill law firms to exclude themselves from having to comply with the FDCPA .. a closer look will probably show that they contributed heavily to North Carolina Republican Walter Jones, Jr.’s election campaign(s) .. or some other such corruption.

    If this bill is allowed to pass, it will mean that foreclosure mills can file foreclosures without first having to prove that the debt is actually owed (debt validation) .. even as the law stands now, many foreclosure mills have ignored it, and filed wrongful foreclosures .. this has led to much grief and anguish for many people who have to try to fight these foreclosures by hiring attorneys (if they can afford one) .. and it has led to families being wrongfully evicted from their homes .. even some of our soldiers have come home to find that their home has been wrongfully foreclosed out from under them. Why do you think that all of the big banks are settling to pay billions of dollars ??? It is because wrongful foreclosures have been filed !!!

    Why would we want to now pass a law that makes it even easier for the foreclosure mill crooks to do wrong ?? If anything, we should be strengthening the law. They should have to comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and stop being predators on the people. Them and the banks just get to say “Ooops !”, pay a fine (billions are pennies to them), and then go on their merry way ??!!! IT IS WRONG !!

    Contact your House Representatives and your Senators and let them know that you oppose H.R.6706 .. we need to hold our law makers accountable for what they do for their cronies !!!
    Please act now before it is too late .. send an email, or a tweet, make a phone call .. please.
    We must act now !!!

  • avatar Ameripay says:

    Oh, sure, because when consumers default en masse on their home loans the lenders shouldn’t be allowed to kick them out of said homes en masse.

    That makes sense, NOT!!

  • avatar robert-marley says:

    Would you also like to change the Professional Code of Conduct for attorney’s; specifically wherein it states that when put on notice their clients are committing fraud or some other unlawful act, they must stop, investigate and if the allegations are true, advise their clients in the proper and legal course of action but, in no way can the attorney continue on that course of action and must remediate any harm that has been caused.

    A lawyer cannot knowingly commit fraud upon the court or anyone else for the matter, including but not limited to Debtors. Every time a lawyer for some bank opens his/her mouth the only thing that comes out are false and misleading statements that amount to fraud because the lawyer is knowingly putting forth material false information.

    Where I come from and the way I fight this war, (it is a War) is to instruct all to file complaints with the BBO for disbarment. Alternatively, a motion with the Supreme Court in the state the lawyer practices for immediate suspension so that lawyer cannot cause further harm. If enough people did that, the true criminals in the destruction of our economy would curb their unlawful behavior.

  • avatar robert-marley says:

    I am not just spouting off unintelligently. For a an education as it relates to mortgages and notes or any securitized debt see the following link to an Amicus Brief I filed in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/92702858/HSBC-et-al-vs-Jodi-Matt-Amicus-Curiae-of-Robert-P-Marley

  • avatar mortgageendgame says:

    Why not just legalize all CRIMINAL activity by passing laws to exempt the most flagrant violators? If this FDCPA bill makes it way through, who and what now stands between the attorney and the alleged debtor? I have seen multitudes of violations committed by these dual functioning Attorney/Debt Collectors. Pass this bill and give them a free ride to violate everyone. If you think for a minute that these ‘law firms’ are acting just as an ‘Attorney’ when they are collecting on behalf of the alleged creditor, you are wrong. There is no doubt they are acting as a collection agency and need to be held to the same standards.

  • avatar mortgageendgame says:

    Right-On Bob! Awesome Amicus!!!!

  • avatar robert-marley says:

    We won the above-mentioned case today. See attached link.http://www.massrealestatelawblog.com

    Reversed and remanded. That makes four in a row.

    Bob

  • avatar Expert Expert says:

    Blesstheusa and your comment dated 1/12/2013……..attorneys in mortgage related cases are subject to the FDCPA. Read the 1/16/2013 Insidearm.com article that reports: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Monday handed down an opinion that defined mortgage foreclosure actions as “debt collection” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), reversing a lower court decision.”

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