S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
2011-2012 Regular Sessions
I N S E N A T E
February 15, 2011
Introduced by Sen. HASSELL-THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed,
and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer
AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to disclosure by
principal creditors and debt collection agencies of the legal obli-
gations of a deceased debtor's family and household members
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section
601-a to read as follows:
S 601-A. DISCLOSURE BY PRINCIPAL CREDITORS AND/OR DEBT COLLECTION
AGENCIES. 1. ALL PRINCIPAL CREDITORS AND/OR DEBT COLLECTION AGENCIES
SHALL DISCLOSE TO ANY RELATIVE OR HOUSEHOLD MEMBER OF A DECEASED DEBTOR
THAT IS CONTACTED THAT HE OR SHE MAY NOT BE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO REPAY
SUCH DECEASED DEBTOR'S DEBTS. IN ADDITION, THE PRINCIPAL CREDITORS
AND/OR DEBT COLLECTION AGENCIES SHALL NOT MAKE ANY MISREPRESENTATION
ABOUT THE FAMILY MEMBER'S OBLIGATION TO PAY SUCH DEBTS.
2. DISCLOSURE REQUIRED UNDER SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE
MADE BOTH ORALLY AND IN WRITING.
3. IN ADDITION TO ANY RIGHT OF ACTION GRANTED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE, ANY AGGRIEVED PERSON MAY BRING AN ACTION TO
ENJOIN SUCH UNLAWFUL PRACTICE AND TO RECOVER A CIVIL PENALTY OF FIVE
THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR EACH VIOLATION, TOGETHER WITH ANY ACTUAL DAMAGES.
THE COURT SHALL AWARD REASONABLE ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS TO A PREVAILING
PLAINTIFF. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, EACH COMMUNICATION THAT FAILS
TO COMPLY WITH THIS SECTION SHALL CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE VIOLATION. CLASS
ACTIONS TO RECOVER THE DAMAGES SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION ARE SPECIF-
S 2. Section 600 of the general business law is amended by adding a
new subdivision 4 to read as follows:
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 3281 2
4. "DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY" SHALL MEAN A PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION
ENGAGED IN BUSINESS, THE PRINCIPAL PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO REGULARLY
COLLECT OR ATTEMPT TO COLLECT DEBTS: (A) OWED OR DUE OR ASSERTED TO BE
OWED OR DUE TO ANOTHER; OR (B) OBTAINED BY, OR ASSIGNED TO, SUCH PERSON,
FIRM OR CORPORATION, THAT ARE IN DEFAULT WHEN OBTAINED OR ACQUIRED BY
SUCH PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION.
S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.