Rep. Mia Love [R-Utah], the first black Republican female member of Congress, has introduced another bill aimed at amending the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The bill, H.R. 864, titled “Stop Debt Collection Abuse Act of 2017,” is exactly the same piece of proposed legislation that she introduced last summer.
The bill aims to amend the definition of a debt collector, detail how the federal government can transfer or sell debts it has guaranteed, and calls for a study by the General Accountability Office that would attempt to clarify:
- The powers given to the debt collectors by Federal, State, and local government agencies;
- The contracting process that allows a Federal, State, or local government agency to award debt collection to a certain company, including the selection process;
- Any fees charged to debtors in addition to principal and interest on the outstanding debt;
- How the fees described in paragraph (3) vary from State to State;
- Consumer protection at the State level that offer recourse to those whom debts have been wrongfully attributed;
- The revenues received by debt collectors from Federal, State, and local government agencies;
- The amount of any revenue sharing agreements between debt collectors and Federal, State, and local government agencies;
- The difference in debt collection procedures across geographic regions, including the extent to which debt collectors pursue court judgments to collect debts; and
- Any legal immunity or other protections given to the debt collectors hired by State and local government agencies, including whether the debt collectors are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq.).
How a debt collector is officially defined by the FDCPA would also be updated, to include collectors working on behalf of the federal government and collectors working accounts that are “owed or due or asserted to be owed or due or that have been obtained by assignment of transfer from another.”
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.