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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 30, 2013 02:02 PM
From: Senator Timothy J. Solobay
To: All Senate members
Subject: Protection from dishonest debt collection practices
In the near future, I will introduce legislation to further protect consumers from dishonest debt collection practices.

Thousands of Pennsylvanians receive collection calls and letters seeking payment of alleged debts each year. Harassment, deception and other abusive tactics, such as lawsuits in small claims court that are not well documented, have become all too common, despite being unlawful.

Document #1

Introduced as SB1053

Description: My first bill would amend the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) to require that debt collectors and creditors provide a consumer with written verification of the alleged debt being collected, as well as notification if the debt is too old to be lawfully enforced under the statute of limitations.

This bill would ensure that consumers have information about the debt being sought in order to make informed decisions on how to respond to the claim. Nothing in my bill prevents anyone from collecting what they are owed, and nothing prevents them from filing a lawsuit to collect if that’s what they want to do.

Document #2

Introduced as SB1054

Description: A violation of the FCEUA constitutes a violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL). Thus, a debt collector or creditor that engages in an unfair or deceptive debt collection practice is subject to the sanctions that are set forth in the UTPCPL.

My second bill would simply update the private-action provision of the UTPCPL. Currently, a person aggrieved under this law may sue to recover actual damages or $100, whichever is greater. This dollar amount has not been increased since the law was originally passed in 1968. My legislation would raise this figure to $500 to reflect the current costs of goods and services and the age in which we live.

Note: This memo replaces a previously circulated memo on the subject sent on 2/19/13. Please contact Hannah Walsh of my office at 7-1463 or hwalsh@pasenate.com if you have any questions.