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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: October 29, 2015 01:00 PM
From: Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
To: All Senate members
Subject: Debt Collection: Limitation on telephone contacts with consumers
I am introducing legislation amending the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act to limit the number of contacts debt collectors and creditors can make via telephone to consumers regarding the collection of debt.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection received over 1,900 consumer complaints in 2014 relating to debt collection. The Bureau indicated that debt collection complaints were among the top 7 categories of complaints they received that year. Also, according to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), in 2014 the CFPB handled about 88,300 debt collection complaints, putting debt collection as the leading source of consumer complaints. Twenty percent of the complaints involved debt collectors’ communications tactics (telephone calls especially).

Under current law, a debt collector or creditor is permitted to communicate with a consumer at a convenient time, which is between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time at the consumer’s location. Unfortunately, this can lead to debt collectors and creditors harassing consumers over a period of time by making numerous phone calls concerning debt collection. While present law makes it a violation by debt collectors and creditors to engage any consumer in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse or harass, my legislation further enhances the law by limiting the number of telephone contacts to three. Once a consumer has been contacted three times, a debt collector or creditor may no longer communicate by telephone but may still communicate with the consumer via another form of communication. A violation of this provision shall constitute a violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

This revision will further protect consumers from harassment or abuse in connection with debt collection, while still allowing businesses to collect debts owed to them.

Introduced as SB1072