senate Bill S707

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Prohibits debt collectors from collecting or attempting to collect a debt owed by a deceased debtor that is known by such debt collector to be deceased

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to consumer protection
Jan 05, 2011 referred to consumer protection

S707 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
General Business Law
Laws Affected:
Add §601-a, amd §602, Gen Bus L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S7205

S707 - Bill Texts

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Prohibits debt collectors from collecting or attempting to collect a debt owed by a deceased debtor that is known by such debt collector to be deceased.

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BILL NUMBER:S707

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general business law, in relation to
prohibiting debt collectors from collecting or attempting to collect a
debt owed by a deceased debtor that is known to be deceased

PURPOSE OF BILL:
This bill would require that debt collection agencies that are
attempting to collect outstanding debts of deceased individuals from
surviving family and household members inform them that they are not
legally obligated to repay the debts of the deceased.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one amends the general business law by adding a new section
601-a. This section requires that all principal creditors and debt
collection agencies must disclose to all persons contacted regarding
a debt incurred by a deceased debtor that such person is not legally
required to pay that he or she is not legally required to repay such
deceased debtor's debts. Any aggrieved person may bring an action
against such a practice and recover a civil penalty. Class actions to
recover damages are specifically authorized.

JUSTIFICATION:
Recent investigations have shown that debt collection companies often
pursue payments from relatives of deceased debtors. A New York Times
article described the practices of a debt collection agency whose
agents are specially trained to employ "empathic active listening"
techniques to comfort grieving families while luring them into paying
the deceased's debts. This may be a violation of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act since this law prevents collection companies
from contacting anyone other than the debtor about outstanding bills.
Even if this practice is not illegal, this legislation will ensure
that debt collectors are required to notify the relatives that they
contact that they have no legal obligation to payoff the debt of the
deceased. As it stands, relatives of deceased debtors are not
required by law to assume their loved ones' debts but collection
agencies often omit this information when they ask the relatives to
make payments on outstanding bills.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: S.7205 Same as A.7889-B - Passed Assembly

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have
become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   707

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection

AN ACT to amend the general business law,  in  relation  to  prohibiting
  debt  collectors  from collecting or attempting to collect a debt owed
  by a deceased debtor that is known to be deceased

  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.  PROHIBITED PRACTICES REGARDING DECEASED DEBTORS. 1. FOR THE
PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE  THE  FOLLOWING
MEANINGS:
  (A) "DEBT" MEANS ANY OBLIGATION OR ALLEGED OBLIGATION OF A CONSUMER TO
PAY  MONEY  ARISING  OUT  OF A TRANSACTION IN WHICH THE MONEY, PROPERTY,
INSURANCE, OR SERVICES WHICH ARE THE  SUBJECT  OF  THE  TRANSACTION  ARE
PRIMARILY  FOR  PERSONAL,  FAMILY, OR HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES, WHETHER OR NOT
SUCH OBLIGATION HAS BEEN REDUCED TO JUDGMENT; AND
  (B) "DEBT COLLECTOR" MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL WHO, AS PART OF  HIS  OR  HER
JOB, REGULARLY COLLECTS OR ATTEMPTS TO COLLECT DEBTS: (I) OWED OR DUE OR
ASSERTED  TO BE OWED OR DUE TO ANOTHER; OR (II) OBTAINED BY, OR ASSIGNED
TO, SUCH PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION, THAT ARE IN DEFAULT WHEN  OBTAINED
OR ACQUIRED BY SUCH PERSON, FIRM OR CORPORATION.
  2.    ANY  PRINCIPAL CREDITOR OR DEBT COLLECTOR COMMUNICATING WITH ANY
PERSON FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT A  DEBT  INCURRED  BY  A
DECEASED  DEBTOR  THAT SUCH PERSON IS NOT LEGALLY REQUIRED TO PAY, SHALL
DISCLOSE TO SUCH PERSON THAT HE OR SHE IS NOT LEGALLY  REQUIRED  TO  PAY
SUCH  DEBT. IN ADDITION, SUCH PRINCIPAL CREDITOR OR DEBT COLLECTOR SHALL
NOT MAKE ANY MISREPRESENTATION ABOUT SUCH  PERSON'S  OBLIGATION  TO  PAY
SUCH DEBT.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02253-01-1

S. 707                              2

  3.  (A)  IN  ADDITION  TO  ANY RIGHT OF ACTION GRANTED TO THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE, ANY PERSON AGGRIEVED BY REASON OF  ANY
VIOLATION  OF THIS SECTION MAY BRING AN ACTION IN HIS OR HER OWN NAME TO
ENJOIN SUCH UNLAWFUL ACT OR PRACTICE, AN ACTION TO RECOVER  HIS  OR  HER
ACTUAL  DAMAGES  OR  FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS, WHICHEVER IS GREATER, OR BOTH
SUCH ACTIONS. IN THE CASE OF ANY SUCCESSFUL ACTION TO ENFORCE THE  FORE-
GOING  LIABILITY,  THE  COURT MAY AWARD THE COSTS OF THE ACTION TOGETHER
WITH REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES. EACH COMMUNICATION THAT FAILS TO COMPLY
WITH THE REQUIREMENTS  OF  THIS  SECTION  SHALL  CONSTITUTE  A  SEPARATE
VIOLATION.
  (B)  ANY  CONSUMER  ENTITLED TO BRING AN ACTION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION
MAY, IF THE UNLAWFUL ACT OR PRACTICE HAS CAUSED DAMAGE TO OTHER  CONSUM-
ERS  SIMILARLY  SITUATED,  BRING AN ACTION ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND SUCH
OTHER CONSUMERS TO RECOVER DAMAGES OR OBTAIN OTHER  RELIEF  AS  PROVIDED
FOR IN THIS SUBDIVISION. ANY ACTION BROUGHT UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL
COMPLY WITH ARTICLE NINE OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES.
  S  2.  Subdivision  1  of  section 602 of the general business law, as
added by chapter 753 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows:
  1. Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who [shall violate]
WILLFULLY VIOLATES the terms of this  article  [shall  be],  EXCEPT  THE
TERMS  CONTAINED IN SECTION SIX HUNDRED ONE-A OF THIS ARTICLE, IS guilty
of a misdemeanor, and each such violation shall  be  deemed  a  separate
offense.
  S  3.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.

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