The House Financial Services Committee has adopted the final legislative text of four pieces of legislation impact the accounts receivable management industry that ACA International focused on as part of its advocacy this year.
ACA Representatives John Bedard Jr., owner of the Bedard Law Group in Atlanta, and Sarah Auchterlonie, an ACA consultant and shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Denver, testified at a 2019 House Financial Services Committee hearing about several of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s accounts and regulatory practices, ACA previously reported.
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In the letter House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, RN.C., ACA CEO Mark Neeb shared the impact of extending the Fair Debt Debt Collection Practices Act to additional types debts that some of the legislation would have on the debtor management (ARM) industry, while expressing equally support for balancing proposals focusing on, for example, medical debts and outside of legal obligations.
ACA has also surveyed members about the impact of this legislation as part of its advocacy and many of the topics in the legislation relate to regulations in the CFPB’s final collection rule released this year.
The law, on the calendar of the US House of Representatives this week, includes:
The description of the bill, sponsored by U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., was amended on December 15, 2020. The bill would “amend the Fair Debt Debt Collection Practices Act to provide a timetable for the collection of medical debt by debt collection agencies, to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to prohibit consumer reporting agencies from issuing consumer reports containing information about debts in connection with medically necessary procedures and for other purposes.”
The ACA team worked on advocacy at the federal level related to the legislation, which could affect medical billing and slow consumers’ knowledge of unpaid bills and credit reporting, and encouraged members to contact their lawmakers. on the impact of the proposal.
This bill, from U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks, DN.Y., extends the FDCPA to cover debts owed to a state or local government and adds protections to consumers affected by national disasters.
According to the summary, “this bill applies certain consumer protections related to debt collection to debts owed to a state. It also specifies that existing limits on civil damages awarded for abuse by a collection agency must be adjusted for inflation. A court may grant injunctive relief for certain debt collection violations. The Treasury Department may not contract with a collection agency or other private party to recover overpayments for certain disaster relief from an individual or household by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).”
US Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., suggested HR 5013 extend the protection of the FDCPA to small business loans, as determined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in consultation with the US Small Business Administration.
Changes to the text of the bill include definitions of debt and commercial credit bureaus and the insertion of sections on small business debt.
In discussions of the legislation last year, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., argued that the CFPB should not have enforcement powers over commercial financial products, ACA previously reported.
Senate Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act of 2019
This Bill, sponsored by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo., R-Idaho, is enabling the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a year-long pilot program that will allow phone companies to block automated calls they believe are illegal.
It was passed unanimously in the Senate on December 19.
ACA has sent numerous letters to the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission detailing the steps to take regarding improper call blocking and mislabelling. Both agencies must take action through regulatory measures to address this harmful activity.
Education about call blocking and labeling and its impact on the ARM industry will remain a top priority for ACA from 2021.
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