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House Passes Bonamici Effort to Protect Consumers from Debt Collectors

May 13, 2021
Press Release

 

WASHINGTON, DC [05/13/21] – Today the House passed legislation led by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) to protect consumers from predatory debt collection.

 

The Comprehensive Debt Collection Act will help prevent debt collectors from mistreating and harassing consumers. The package included an amendment introduced by Bonamici based on her SCAM Debt Act to require debt collectors to provide consumers with details about the debts they are trying to collect. 

 

According to data from Pew Charitable Trusts, one in every four civil court cases is related to debt collection, and in 90 percent of those cases consumers do not have legal representation. Bonamici’s amendment will make sure consumers receive notice of impending legal action on debts and that admissible evidence is submitted to demonstrate the legal status of the debt.

 

“I’ve done financial counseling for low-income clients at Legal Aid, and learned firsthand that people don’t struggle by choice,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici on the House floor. “I was an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, where my work involved enforcing the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I’ve seen how predatory debt collection tactics hurt our families and our communities. Consumers face harassment at home and at work, and they frequently get misinformation about debts they may not even legally owe. … 

 

“My amendment will update the law so consumers get advance notice of legal action against them and accurate details about what they legally owe. Strengthening protections for consumers will help individuals and families get through this economic crisis and beyond.”

 

Video of Bonamici speaking in favor of the legislation can be viewed here.

 

The Comprehensive Debt Collection Act also included an amendment from Rep. Steve Cohen and Rep. Bonamici based on the Fair Debt Collection Improvement Act to prevent attempts to collect debts after they have expired.

  

A fact sheet about the full Comprehensive Debt Collection Act can be found here.

 

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