S.3888 Al Franken Bill To Amend The FDCPA

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S.3888 Al Franken Bill To Amend The FDCPA Powered By Docstoc
					                                              S7802                                             CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — SENATE                                                   September 29, 2010
                                                This bill will also require the debt                    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This section and the             issuance of a warrant for the arrest of a debt-
                                              collectors provide the name of the                      amendments made by this section shall be-              or or any other similar request that a debt
                                              original creditor upfront so we can                     come effective 1 year after the date of enact-         collector knows or should know would lead
                                                                                                      ment of this Act.                                      to the issuance of an arrest warrant, in rela-
                                              avoid cases such as that women from
                                                                                                      SEC.     3.   DISPUTE   INVESTIGATIONS           AND   tion to collection of a debt.’’.
                                              Richfield, who received collection no-                                VERIFICATION.                              (b) CONSTRUCTION.—Paragraph (9) of such
                                              tices from a company she had never                        Section 809(b) of the Fair Debt Collection           section 808, as added by subsection (a), shall
                                              heard of and, quite reasonably, ignored                 Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692g(b)) is amend-           not be construed to limit a court’s inherent
                                              them. It is just common sense to make                   ed—                                                    authority to hold a debtor in civil contempt,
                                              sure that debt collectors provide this                    (1) by inserting after ‘‘(b)’’ the following:        nor to limit a debt collector’s ability to seek
                                              sort of basic information upfront so                    ‘‘DISPUTED DEBTS.—                                     a writ of execution or similar remedy to take
                                              these misunderstandings do not hap-                       ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—’’; and                            possession of property in order to satisfy a
                                              pen.                                                      (2) by striking ‘‘Collection activities’’ and        valid judgment of debt.
                                                In the case a consumer does identify                  inserting the following:
                                              an inaccuracy with a debt claim, some                     ‘‘(2)    REASONABLE    INVESTIGATION      AND          The following have endorsed the End Debt
                                                                                                      VERIFICATION REQUIRED.—Upon receipt of a               Collector Abuse Act:
                                              debt collectors currently do little or                  notification under paragraph (1) that a debt             National Consumer Law Center, Con-
                                              nothing in terms of investigating                       is disputed by the consumer, the debt col-             sumers Union; National Consumers League,
                                              whether the consumer’s dispute is cor-                  lector shall undertake a thorough investiga-           Center for Responsible Lending, Service Em-
                                              rect. For that reason, this bill would                  tion of the substance of the dispute, and              ployees International Union (SEIU), The
                                              require the collectors conduct a thor-                  shall timely provide to the consumer specific          Leadership Conference on Civil and Human
                                              ough investigation when a consumer                      responsive information and verification of             Rights, National Association of Consumer
                                              contacts them about a mistake. The                      the disputed debt.                                     Advocates, National Council of La Raza,
                                              collector would then have to provide                      ‘‘(3) COLLECTION ACTIVITIES.—Collection ac-          Consumer Action, National Association for
                                                                                                      tivities’’.                                            the    Advancement       of  Colored   People
                                              the consumer with specific evidence
                                                                                                      SEC. 4. AWARD OF DAMAGES.                              (NAACP), Minnesota Attorney General Lori
                                              about the dispute.                                                                                             Swanson, Legal Services Advocacy Project
                                                Finally, the End Debt Collector                         (a) ADDITIONAL DAMAGES INDEXED FOR IN-
                                                                                                      FLATION.—                                              (Minnesota), Family Partnership (Min-
                                              Abuse Act would increase the penalties                                                                         nesota), Minneapolis Urban League, Min-
                                                                                                        (1) IN GENERAL.—Section 813 of the Fair
                                              for violating consumer rights in order                  Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C.               nesota Community Action Partnership, Jew-
                                              to crack down on the rogue debt collec-                 1692k) is amended by adding at the end the             ish Community Action (Minnesota), Housing
                                              tors who have been blatantly and will-                  following:                                             Preservation Project (Minnesota), Lutheran
                                              fully ignoring current Federal prohibi-                   ‘‘(f) ADJUSTMENT FOR INFLATION.—                     Social Services of Minnesota—Financial
                                              tions against harassing calls and other                   ‘‘(1) INITIAL ADJUSTMENT.—Not later than             Counseling Services, Catholic Charities’ Of-
                                              abusive practices.                                      90 days after the date of the enactment of             fice for Social Justice (Minnesota), Twin Cit-
                                                In this tough economy, Minnesotans                    this subsection, the Commission shall pro-             ies Habitat for Humanity (Minnesota),
                                                                                                      vide a percentage increase (rounded to the             Downtown Congregations to End Homeless-
                                              are suffering enough right now and
                                                                                                      nearest multiple of $100 or $1,000, as applica-        ness (Minnesota), Metropolitan Consortium
                                              they deserve to have the basic protec-                                                                         of Community Developers (Minnesota).
                                                                                                      ble) in the amounts set forth in such section
                                              tions against abusive debt collective                   equal to the percentage by which—
                                              practices. I urge my colleagues to join                   ‘‘(A) the Consumer Price Index for All                      By Mr. DODD (for himself and
                                              Senator LEMIEUX and me in supporting                    Urban Consumers (all items, United States                      Mr. BURR):
                                              this bill so we can stop the abuse and                  city average) for the 12-month period ending             S. 3895. A bill to protect students
                                              harassment of hard-working Americans                    on the June 30 preceding the date on which             from inappropriate seclusion and phys-
                                              by rogue debt collection firms.                         the percentage increase is provided, exceeds           ical restraint, and for other purposes;
                                                Mr. President, I ask unanimous con-                     ‘‘(B) the Consumer Price Index for the 12-
                                                                                                                                                             to the Committee on Health, Edu-
                                              sent that the text of the bill and a list               month period preceding January 1, 1978.
                                                                                                        ‘‘(2) ANNUAL ADJUSTMENTS.—With respect               cation, Labor, and Pensions.
                                              of supports be printed in the RECORD.                                                                            Mr. DODD. Mr. President, I rise
                                                There being no objection, the mate-                   to any fiscal year beginning after the date of
                                                                                                      the increase provided under paragraph (1),             today to introduce the Keeping All
                                              rial was ordered to be printed in the                                                                          Students Safe Act to create a safe envi-
                                                                                                      the Commission shall provide a percentage
                                              RECORD, as follows:                                     increase (rounded to the nearest multiple of           ronment for students and school per-
                                                                   S. 3888                            $100 or $1,000, as applicable) in the amounts          sonnel by creating minimum standards
                                                Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Rep-         set forth in this section equal to the percent-        around the use of seclusion and re-
                                              resentatives of the United States of America in         age by which—
                                              Congress assembled,                                                                                            straint in schools. In December, I in-
                                                                                                        ‘‘(A) the Consumer Price Index for All
                                              SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.                                 Urban Consumers (all items, United States              troduced a similar bill. But today, I
                                               This Act may be cited as the ‘‘End Debt                city average) for the 12-month period ending           come to the floor with my good friend
                                              Collector Abuse Act of 2010’’.                          on the June 30 preceding the beginning of the          and colleague Senator BURR, with a re-
                                              SEC. 2. ENHANCED VALIDATION NOTICES.                    fiscal year for which the increase is made,            vised act that incorporates additional
                                                (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 809(a) of the Fair            exceeds                                                protections for students.
                                              Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C.                  ‘‘(B) the Consumer Price Index for the 12-             In 1998, the Hartford Courant ran an
                                              1692g(a)) is amended—                                   month period preceding the 12-month period             award-winning series of stories about
                                                (1) in paragraph (4), by striking ‘‘and’’ at          described in subparagraph (A).’’.
                                                                                                                                                             the use of seclusion and restraint in
                                              the end; and                                              (2) APPLICABILITY.—The increases made
                                                (2) by striking paragraph (5) and inserting           under section 813(f) of the Fair Debt Collec-          hospitals, residential facilities, and
                                              the following:                                          tion Practices Act, as added by paragraph (1)          group homes for individuals with psy-
                                                ‘‘(5) the date of the last payment to the             of this subsection, shall apply with respect           chiatric and developmental disabil-
                                              creditor on the subject debt by the consumer            to failures to comply with a provision of              ities. The Courant uncovered a hidden
                                              and the amount of the debt at the time of de-           such Act (15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) occurring on         epidemic, confirming 142 deaths occur-
                                              fault;                                                  or after the date of enactment of this Act.            ring during or after the use of seclusion
                                                ‘‘(6) the name and address of the last per-             (b) INJUNCTIVE RELIEF.—Section 813(d) of             or restraint.
                                              son to extend credit with respect to the debt;          the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15
                                                                                                                                                               One of those 142 cases was an 11-year-
                                                ‘‘(7) an itemization of the principal, fees,          U.S.C. 1692k(d)) is amended by adding at the
                                              and interest that make up the debt and any              end the following: ‘‘In a civil action alleging        old boy from my home State of Con-
                                              other charges added after the date of the last          a violation of this title, the court may award         necticut. He was restrained face-down
                                              payment to the creditor;                                appropriate relief, including injunctive re-           in a position that restricted his air
                                                ‘‘(8) a description of the rights of the con-         lief.’’.                                               flow. He died as a result.
                                              sumer—                                                  SEC. 5. SEEKING A WARRANT FOR ARREST OF                  In response, I led the charge to estab-
pwalker on DSKD5P82C1PROD with SENATE

                                                ‘‘(A) to request that the debt collector                         DEBTOR AS AN UNFAIR DEBT COL-               lish Federal standards to prevent the
                                              cease communication with the consumer                              LECTION PRACTICE.
                                                                                                                                                             misuse of these practices. I helped pass
                                              under section 805(c); and                                 (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 808 of the Fair
                                                                                                                                                             The Children’s Health Act of 2000,
                                                ‘‘(B) to have collection efforts stopped              Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C.
                                              under subsection (b); and                               1692f) is amended by adding at the end the             which included the Compassionate Care
                                                ‘‘(9) the name and contact information of             following:                                             Act that I originally drafted to put
                                              the person responsible for handling com-                  ‘‘(9) A request by a debt collector to a             these standards in place in certain hos-
                                              plaints on behalf of the debt collector.’’.             court or any law enforcement agency for the            pitals and residential facilities. We

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