Pennsylvania recently became the latest state to target the information debt collection agencies provide to consumers with the introduction of House Bill 1633. Sponsored by Rep. Peter Daley, a Democrat serving southwestern Pennsylvania, the bill would require collectors to disclose the applicable statute of limitations on an account in initial communications, among other things.
The bill, under the memo heading “Protecting Consumers from Unfair Debt Collection,” is a formal amendment to the state’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act of 2000. The new proposals would apply to both third party debt collectors and creditors.
Collectors would be required to conform with the verification provisions of section 1692g(a) of the FDCPA when contacting consumers in the state. But the bill also requires debt collectors to proactively disclose when the statute of limitations is up for a debt and inform consumers that “the debt or judgment is no longer legally enforceable” afterwards.
“The laws in Pennsylvania pertaining to debt collections are, by comparison to others, very adequate. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s 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 bill was introduced on August 23 and referred to the General Assembly’s House Committee on Consumer Affairs, of which Daley is the ranking Democrat. The measure has 15 cosponsors.
Because the bill also targets creditors, some consumer advocates expect the industry to lobby heavily against it.