Proposed legislation in Pennsylvania would make it an unfair or deceptive act or practice for collectors to communicate with debtors more than three times via phone calls, regardless of whether debtors want to continue communicating.
The legislation was introduced Nov. 20 in the Pennsylvania state Senate by Sens. Greenleaf, Tartaglione, Rafferty, and Pileggi. Senators Greenleaf, Rafferty, and Pileggi are Republicans; Sen. Tartaglione is a Democrat. The bill would amend the state’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act. It would allow further communications beyond the three phone calls, but only through an alternative form of communication, other than the telephone.
In a memorandum announcing the legislation’s introduction, Sen. Greenleaf said the impetus behind his action were the volume of complaints filed by Pennsylvania residents against debt collectors with the state’s attorney general’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Pennsylvania Attorney General received about 1,900 complaints in 2014, according to the memo, ranking debt collections among the top seven categories of complaints.
As pointed out by Eric Rosenkoetter, a principal in the law firm of Maurice Wutscher, voicemails would “presumably” count toward the three-call total, and there is no provision in the bill for debtors who want to continue to communicate with collectors after the three-call limit has been reached.
If passed and enacted, the legislation would likely be considered the most onerous and restrictive collections law in the nation, at least when dealing with how collectors can communicate with borrowers.