House Unanimously Passes Bill to Amend FDCPA to Provide More Protections to Servicemembers

The House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed a bill that would amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to provide more protection for members of the Armed Forces.

H.R. 5003, the Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act, passed 355-0 and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The bill was introduced by Rep. Madeleine Dean [D-Pa.] and was co-sponsored by Rep. Warren Davidson [R-Ohio]. The bill was one of four bills from the House Financial Services Committee that were passed yesterday by the entire House of Representatives.

The bill adds subsections to Section 805 of the FDCPA, which deals with communication in connection with debt collection and Section 808, which deals with unfair practices.

Under the proposed legislation, collectors would be prohibited from:

  • Threatening to have the covered member reduced in rank;
  • Threatening to have the covered member’s security clearance revoked; or
  • Threatening to have the covered member prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice

As well, collectors would be barred from misrepresenting that failure to cooperate would result in a reduction of rank, a revocation of the member’s security clearance, or prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“The Fair Debt Collection practices for Servicemembers Act will help ensure that members of our military and their families are not subject to the abusive and egregious practices used by debt collectors,” Rep. Dean said in a statement. “Protecting our soldiers is a top priority in the Financial Services Committee and passing this bill sends a clear signal that these abusive practices must end.”

The bill had previously passed unanimously out of the House Financial Services Committee back in November.

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One comment

  1. It’s depressing to think that most of our elected Representatives are attorneys who voted on a statute that they obviously do not understand. All of the provisions of this amendment are specifically covered in the FDCPA now. It seems to me that this amendment is nothing more than a “feel good” to appeal to voters, instead of doing something really meaningful, such as amending Dodd Frank to specify that the CFPB has authority for the Military Lending Act.

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