New Bill Could Empower Debt Collection Agencies
With a stated intent “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,” H.R. 6706, introduced on December 27, 2012, would insert an additional exemption to the definition of “debt collector,” adding the following language to the FDCPA:
(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…
Currently, the FDCPA exempts creditors, government employees, and certain other groups; this bill would add ruthless corporate attorneys to this list. Jones introduced timed the bill so that it would pass under the public radar, and between Congresses; it can’t be heard by the 112th Congress (which closed at the year’s end), but, as he won an easy re-election in November, Jones can reintroduce the horrible bill in the 113th Congress.
H.R. 6706 is similar in its intent (and its misleading name) to The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which was drafted by banks and had no intention of protecting consumers. Instead, the bill protected creditors, and in a Republican Congress, it passed. H.R. 6706 is the same sort of seemingly harmless legislation, that actually has the potential for a devastating loss of consumer protection. Instead of collection agency thugs calling you night and day (or quite possibly, in addition to them), corporate lawyers will be endlessly hounding you.
If a collection agency has harassed you, you may be entitled to money damages up to $1,000.00, based on the FDCPA, which has been around for almost 35 years. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to every state. In other words, everyone is protected by the FDCPA. The FDCPA is essentially a laundry list of what debt collectors can and cannot do while collecting a debt, as well as things debt collectors must do while collecting a debt. Plus, the FDCPA has a fee-shift provision. This means, the collection agency pays your attorney’s fees and costs. Founding attorney, Michael Agruss, has settled over 1,500 debt collection harassment cases. We want to help you, too.
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