The changing of the calendar from December to January signifies more than just the start of a new year. In many states, it signifies the start of a new legislative session. Already, there are reports that bills attempting to regulate actions and behavior in the accounts receivable management industry are being introduced or planned to be introduced. One example is in the Florida state legislature, in which a bill is being introduced in both houses that would prohibit creditors from contacting individuals who incurred debts as a result of being victims of certain crimes.
A copy of the bill can be accessed by clicking here.
The bill, which is being introduced by state Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Rep. Alex Andrade, lays out certain crimes — elder abuse, human trafficking, identity theft, or individuals who were in foster care — for which creditors would be prohibited from making contact to try and collect on debts arising from those situations.
In situations where the individual provides a signed affidavit detailing the specifics of the situation, creditors would be prohibited from attempting to collect for two years. If the perpetrator of the crime is convicted, the prohibition on attempting to collect would be permanent.
Somewhat interestingly, the bill uses the word “creditor” and defines the term as a person requiring to be registered under S. 559.553, which is the state statute in Florida requiring collection agencies to obtain licenses in order to collect in the state.
The bill also includes a private right of action to anyone, with statutory damages of up to $1,000 and reasonable attorney fees.
If enacted, the law would take effect July 1.