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.