senate Bill S1277

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to provisions concerning debt collection procedures

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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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Jan 08, 2014 referred to consumer protection
Jan 09, 2013 referred to consumer protection

S1277 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A596
Current Committee:
Senate Consumer Protection
Law Section:
General Business Law
Laws Affected:
Amd Art 29-H §§600 - 603-d, Gen Bus L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1822A, A8432B
2009-2010: S6036, A8840B

S1277 - Bill Texts

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Relates to provisions concerning debt collection procedures.

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BILL NUMBER:S1277

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the general business law, in relation to
debt collection procedures

PURPOSE:
This bill would enact into New York State law protections against
improper and abusive consumer debt collection practices, and provide
for a private right of action for consumers injured by such practices.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill amends Article 29-H of the General Business Law
(GBL), Debt Collection Procedures to do the following:

* Amend GBL § 600 to revise the definitions of "consumer debt,"
"debtor," and "creditor," and to define "consumer," "communication,"
"debt collector," "location information," and "verification of the
debt."

* Amend GBL § 601 to make it a prohibited practice for creditors to
communicate with the debtor or his family or household except between
8:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M.

* Renumber GBL § 602 (violations and penalties) as § 606, and create a
new §602 to require creditors to send notice to the last known
address of a debtor when his or her debt is sold or transferred, and
to provide purchasers of a debt with a consumer's written
notification that he or she disputes the debt.

* Renumber GBL § 603 (severability) as § 607 and create a new GBL § 603
to delineate certain prohibited practices by a debt collector,
including among others: (1) acquiring location information regarding
a consumer without properly identifying him or herself; (2)
communicating with a consumer at inconvenient times or with excessive
frequency; (3) communicating directly with a consumer known to be
represented by counsel; (4) communicating with a consumer who had
notified the collector of his or her refusal to pay, except for
certain limited purposes; (5) engaging in harassment or abuse; (6)
making false or misleading representations; (7) collecting an amount
not expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt; (8)
soliciting a post-dated instrument for the purpose of threatening or
instituting criminal prosecution; (9) causing charges to
be made to any person for communications by misrepresenting the true
purpose of the communications; (10) communicating with a consumer
about a debt by postcard; (11) communicating with a consumer about a
debt, after instituting debt collection procedures, without
identifying him or herself; and (12) designing, compiling or
furnishing a form with knowledge that it would create the false
belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor is
participating in the collection. This section also sets forth
appropriate procedures for the validation of debts by debt collectors.

* Add a new GBL § 603-a to require debt purchasers and their agents to
send notice to the last known address of a debtor that his or her


debt is being sold or transferred, and to provide purchasers of a
debt, and debt collectors, with a consumer's written notification
that he or she disputes the debt.

* Add a new GBL § 603-b to provide for a private right of action to
recover two thousand five hundred dollars and actual damages for a
violation of this article. This section also provides that a debt
collector may not be held liable in any action brought under this
article if the debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence
that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide
error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably
adapted to avoid any such error.

Section 2 of the bill provides that it would become effective on the
succeeding January 1 after it becomes law except that GBL §§ 602,
603(7) and 503-a shall apply only to debts incurred on or after the
effective date of such sections.

EXISTING LAW:
General Business Law Article 29-H prohibits certain practices in
regard to debt collection. Among other requirements, the Article bars
a principal creditor, which is defined to include both a principal
first issuer of credit, and any debt collector that is assigned the
debt from a principal creditor, from: (1) simulating a law
enforcement officer, or a representative of any governmental agency
of the state of New York or any of its political subdivisions; (2)
knowingly collecting attempting to collect, or asserting a right to
any collection fee, attorney's fee, court cost or expense unless
legally chargeable against the debtor; (3) disclosing or threatening
to disclose information affecting the debtor's reputation for
creditworthiness with knowledge or reason to know that the
information is false; (4) communicating or threatening to communicate
the nature of a consumer claim to the debtor's employer prior to
obtaining final judgment against the debtor; (5) disclosing or
threatening to disclose information concerning the existence of a
debt known to be disputed by the debtor without disclosing that fact;
(6) communicating with a debtor or any member of his family or
household with such frequency or at such unusual hours or in such
a manner as can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass the debtor;
or (7) threatening any action which the principal creditor in the
usual course of his business does not in fact take; (8) claiming,
attempting or threatening to enforce a right with knowledge or reason
to know that the right does not exist; or (9) using a communication
which simulates in any manner legal or judicial process or which
gives the appearance of being authorized, issued
or approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at law
when it is not.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
01/13/11 REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
01/04/12 REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
01/05/12 AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
01/05/12 PRINT NUMBER 1822A

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:
Many consumers today are finding themselves the subjects of debt
collection proceedings. Creditors and debt collectors in pursuit of


collection, often fail to inform the consumers of the important
details related to the debt, such as where the debt originated, or
the name and address of the original creditor. This creates a
frustrating process for a debtor who has disputes with all ,or part
of the claimed debt. An exacerbating factor during this process is
that consumers, who are struggling and faced with the inability to
payoff a loan or credit card bill, often are subjected to persistent
and sometimes abusive debt collection tactics.

In the past four years, the CPB has received approximately 3,894 debt
collection complaints and/or inquiries. This bill would provide
consumers with adequate recourse to address the improper practices
cited in those complaints, while still allowing businesses to collect
upon the debts owed to them.

The debt collection industry has changed significantly in the more
than three decades since Article 29-H of the General Business Law was
enacted in 1973, and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA) was enacted in 1977. It was recently noted in a Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) report that, "The most significant change in the
debt collection business in the past decade, however, has been the
advent and growth of debt buying (Le. the purchasing, collecting and
reselling of debts in default). It The report furthers that the FDCPA
should be amended to reflect the advent and expansion of debt buying
industry, and require debt collectors to have and convey to consumers
more information in validation notices. To address this concern, the
FTC recommends that the FDCPA be amended to require that debt
collectors obtain and provide in the "validation notices" they send
to consumers: (1) the name of the original creditor; and (2) an
itemization of (a) the principle, (b) the total Of all interest, and
(c) the total of all fees and charges that make up the debt."(1)

This bill would address these problems by incorporating into New York
law many aspects of the FDCPA. It would add to the terms of that Act
the requirement that debt collectors provide verification of a
consumers debt upon request, and also notice to consumers when their
debt is sold. This would allow consumers to determine the source
and legitimacy of debt collection notices they receive from third
parties with whom they have not had prior contact.

The current outdated laws regulating the debt collection industry,
combined with the unprecedented increase in consumer debt has created
a perfect storm for consumers. The latest United States statistics
indicated the total amount of consumer debt, which does not include
any debt
secured by real estate, is nearly $2.6 trillion dollars.(2) When
extrapolated, this works out to be nearly $8,500 in debt for every
man, woman and child that lives in the United States.(3)

The tragic impact of this debt load was exemplified recently in the
NBC Dateline story, The Debt Trap, which embodied the many scenarios
faced by consumers who have become ensnared in debt collection
proceedings, including those consumers who never incurred or owed
such debt. It also depicted the abuse and harassment tactics some
debt collectors employ against consumers to collect debts. It most
importantly provided the landscape and desperation of consumers
struggling today to pay their debts while facing or experiencing


layoffs, mortgage foreclosures, and severely decreased investment
assets.

In addition, a recent New York Times article (4) featured the rapidly
increasing trend of creditors and banking institutions using the
State's civil court system as a debtors' court, with its lure of a
quick and often easy opportunity to obtain default judgments in their
collection efforts. The article explains that lawsuit filings
involving debt collections have nearly tripled since 2000. Court
officials project that of those filings, 350,000 in the New York City
Civil Court this year alone will involve debt on credit cards. This
increased activity, combined with the reality of financially strapped
consumers struggling to meet their basic needs, creates a perfect
storm for greater economic turmoil.

Consumers need recourse against nefarious debt collection practices,
and deter unsubstantiated debt collection lawsuits. Thus, the statute
would also provide consumers with a private right of action to
enforce the terms of this statute, and the right to recover damages
of $2500 per wrongful act. The FDCPA provides for only $1000 per
violation, but such damages have not been revised to reflect
inflation since the FDCPA was first enacted in 1977. This bill would
provide consumers with a remedy under New York law that reflects such
change, and that provides an adequate deterrent to misconduct. Like
the FDCPA, this bill would allow a prevailing plaintiff to recover
attorneys' fees.

By largely aligning New York and federal law, this bill would provide
a consistent set of rules for debt collectors to follow, while giving
consumers adequate remedies for stopping abusive practices.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This bill would become effective on the first of January next
succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law, except that
GBL §§ 602, 603(7) and 603-a shall apply only to debts incurred on or
after the effective date of such sections.

FOOTNOTES:

(1) Collecting Consumer Debts: The Challenges of Change, FTC Workshop
Report, pages iv-v, (February 2009).

(2) Consumer Credit Statistics, Federal Reserve Board (May 7, 2009).

(3) Consumer Debt Statistics, Money-zine.com. (May 2009).

(4) In Civil Court, One Nation, Under Debt, New York Times, (October
11, 2008).

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

                                  1277

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. PERKINS -- 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 debt collection
  procedures

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Article 29-H of the general business law, as added by chap-
ter 753 of the laws of 1973, subdivision 9 of section 601 as amended and
subdivision  10 of section 601 and subdivision 3 of section 602 as added
by chapter 342 of the laws of 2011, is amended to read as follows:
                              ARTICLE 29-H
                       DEBT COLLECTION PROCEDURES
Section 600. Definitions.
        601. Prohibited CREDITOR practices.
        602. [Violations and penalties] CREDITOR RESPONSIBILITIES.
        603. [Severability] PROHIBITED DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES.
        603-A. SELLING OR TRANSFERRING OF DEBTS.
        603-B. PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION.
        603-C. VIOLATIONS AND PENALTIES.
        603-D. SEVERABILITY.
  S 600. Definitions. As used in this article,  unless  the  context  or
subject  matter  otherwise  requires:  1.  "[Consumer  claim]  DEBT"  OR
"CONSUMER DEBT" means any obligation OR ALLEGED OBLIGATION of a  natural
person  for  the  payment  of  money  [or  its equivalent which is or is
alleged to be in default and which arises] ARISING  out  of  a  CONSUMER
transaction  wherein  credit  has  been offered or extended to a natural
person, and the money, property [or],  INSURANCE,  service  OR  SERVICES
which  [was]  ARE the subject of the transaction [was] ARE primarily for
personal, family or household purposes, WHETHER OR NOT  SUCH  OBLIGATION
HAS  BEEN  REDUCED  TO A JUDGMENT.  The term includes an obligation of a

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02936-01-3

S. 1277                             2

natural person who is a co-maker, endorser, guarantor or surety as  well
as the natural person to whom such credit was originally extended.
  2.  "Debtor"  means  any natural person who owes or who is asserted to
owe a [consumer claim] CONSUMER DEBT.
  3. "[Principal creditor] CREDITOR" means  any  person,  firm,  ASSOCI-
ATION, corporation, [or] organization [to whom] OR OTHER BUSINESS ENTITY
THAT OFFERS OR EXTENDS CREDIT, CREATING a consumer [claim is] DEBT owed,
due  or  asserted  to be due or owed, [or any assignee for value of said
person, firm, corporation  or  organization]  BUT  SUCH  TERM  DOES  NOT
INCLUDE  ANY  PERSON,  ASSOCIATION,  FIRM,  CORPORATION, ORGANIZATION OR
OTHER BUSINESS ENTITY TO THE EXTENT THAT IT RECEIVES  AN  ASSIGNMENT  OR
TRANSFER  OF  A  DEBT  IN DEFAULT SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF FACILITATING
COLLECTION OF SUCH DEBT FOR ANOTHER.
  4. "COMMUNICATION" MEANS THE CONVEYING OF INFORMATION REGARDING A DEBT
DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY TO ANY PERSON THROUGH ANY MEDIUM.
  5. "CONSUMER" MEANS ANY NATURAL PERSON OBLIGATED  OR  ALLEGEDLY  OBLI-
GATED  TO  PAY ANY DEBT ARISING OUT OF A TRANSACTION IN WHICH THE MONEY,
PROPERTY, INSURANCE, OR SERVICES WHICH ARE THE  SUBJECT  OF  THE  TRANS-
ACTION ARE PRIMARILY FOR PERSONAL, FAMILY, OR HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES, WHETH-
ER OR NOT SUCH OBLIGATION HAS BEEN REDUCED TO JUDGMENT.
  6.  "DEBT  COLLECTOR"  MEANS  AN INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, FIRM, CORPO-
RATION, ORGANIZATION OR OTHER BUSINESS ENTITY WHO, AS PART OF HIS OR HER
JOB, REGULARLY COLLECTS OR SEEKS TO COLLECT FROM A CONSUMER A DEBT  OWED
OR DUE TO ANOTHER OR ALLEGED TO BE OWED OR DUE.
  THE TERM DOES NOT INCLUDE:
  (A)  ANY  OFFICER  OR EMPLOYEE OF A CREDITOR WHILE, IN THE NAME OF THE
CREDITOR, COLLECTING DEBTS FOR SUCH CREDITOR;
  (B) ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES,  ANY  STATE  OR  ANY
POLITICAL  SUBDIVISION  OF  ANY  STATE  TO THE EXTENT THAT COLLECTING OR
ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT ANY DEBT OWED IS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OR  HER
OFFICIAL DUTIES;
  (C)  ANY  PERSON WHILE SERVING OR ATTEMPTING TO SERVE LEGAL PROCESS ON
ANY OTHER PERSON IN CONNECTION WITH  THE  JUDICIAL  ENFORCEMENT  OF  ANY
DEBT;
  (D)  ANY INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYED BY A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION WHICH, AT THE
REQUEST OF CONSUMERS, PERFORMS BONA FIDE CONSUMER CREDIT COUNSELING  AND
ASSISTS  CONSUMERS  IN  THE  LIQUIDATION  OF  THEIR  DEBTS  BY RECEIVING
PAYMENTS FROM SUCH CONSUMERS AND DISTRIBUTING SUCH AMOUNTS TO CREDITORS;
  (E) ANY PERSON WHILE ACTING AS A DEBT COLLECTOR  FOR  ANOTHER  PERSON,
BOTH  OF WHOM ARE RELATED BY COMMON OWNERSHIP OR AFFILIATED BY CORPORATE
CONTROL, IF THE PERSON ACTING AS A  DEBT  COLLECTOR  DOES  SO  ONLY  FOR
PERSONS  TO  WHOM  IT  IS  SO RELATED OR AFFILIATED AND IF THE PRINCIPAL
BUSINESS OF SUCH PERSON IS NOT THE COLLECTION OF DEBTS; OR
  (F) ANY PERSON COLLECTING OR ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT ANY  DEBT  OWED  OR
DUE  OR  ASSERTED  TO BE OWED OR DUE ANOTHER TO THE EXTENT SUCH ACTIVITY
(I) IS INCIDENTAL TO A BONA FIDE FIDUCIARY OBLIGATION  OR  A  BONA  FIDE
ESCROW  ARRANGEMENT;  (II)  CONCERNS A DEBT WHICH WAS ORIGINATED BY SUCH
PERSON; (III) CONCERNS A DEBT WHICH WAS NOT IN DEFAULT AT  THE  TIME  IT
WAS  OBTAINED  BY  SUCH PERSON; OR (IV) CONCERNS A DEBT OBTAINED BY SUCH
PERSON'S SECURED PARTY IN A COMMERCIAL CREDIT TRANSACTION INVOLVING  THE
CREDITOR.
  7. "LOCATION INFORMATION" MEANS A CONSUMER'S PLACE OF ABODE AND HIS OR
HER TELEPHONE NUMBER AT SUCH PLACE, OR HIS OR HER PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT.
  8.  "VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT" MEANS A COPY OF THE LAST BILL OR NOTICE
OF COLLECTION SENT FROM THE CREDITOR TO THE DEBTOR, ANY JUDGMENT  LEVIED
IN  CONJUNCTION  WITH SUCH DEBT, AND, IF APPLICABLE, A COPY OF THE JUDG-

S. 1277                             3

MENT RELEASE AND A COPY OF THE WRITTEN COMMUNICATION ADVISING THE DEBTOR
THAT HIS OR HER DEBT HAS BEEN SOLD OR TRANSFERRED.
  S  601.  Prohibited  CREDITOR  practices.  No [principal] creditor, as
defined by this article, or his OR HER agent shall:
  1. Simulate in any manner a law enforcement officer,  or  a  represen-
tative of any governmental agency of the state of New York or any of its
political subdivisions; or
  2.  Knowingly  collect,  attempt  to collect, or assert a right to any
collection fee, attorney's  fee,  court  cost  or  expense  unless  such
[changes]  CHARGES  are  justly  due  and legally chargeable against the
debtor; or
  3. Disclose or threaten to disclose information affecting the debtor's
reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge or reason to  know  that
the information is false; or
  4.  Communicate  or  threaten  to communicate the nature of a consumer
[claim] DEBT to the debtor's employer prior to obtaining final  judgment
against  the  debtor.    The  provisions  of  this subdivision shall not
prohibit a [principal] creditor from  communicating  with  the  debtor's
employer  to  execute  a  wage  assignment  agreement  if the debtor has
consented to such an agreement; or
  5. Disclose or threaten to disclose information concerning the  exist-
ence  of  a  debt  known to be disputed by the debtor without disclosing
that fact; or
  6. Communicate with the debtor or any member of his OR HER  family  or
household AT ANY TIME OTHER THAN BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:00 A.M. AND 9:00
P.M.  LOCAL TIME OR with such frequency [or at such unusual hours] or in
such a manner as can reasonably be  expected  to  abuse  or  harass  the
debtor; or
  7.  Threaten  any  action  which the [principal] creditor in the usual
course of his OR HER business does not in fact take; or
  8. Claim, or attempt or threaten to enforce a right with knowledge  or
reason to know that the right does not exist; or
  9. Use a communication which simulates in any manner legal or judicial
process  or  which  gives  the appearance of being authorized, issued or
approved by a government, governmental agency, or attorney at  law  when
it is not; or
  10. If such [principal] creditor or agent sends more than fifty infor-
mation subpoenas per month, fail to keep complete records concerning all
information  subpoenas  sent by such [principal] creditor or agent. Such
records shall be maintained  for  five  years.  Contemporaneous  records
shall  be  kept  that  set  forth  with specificity the grounds for such
[principal] creditor or agent's reasonable belief, which must be  certi-
fied  and accompany each information subpoena pursuant to rule fifty-two
hundred twenty-four of the civil practice law and rules, that the  party
receiving  the  subpoena  has  in  its  possession information about the
debtor that will assist the creditor in collecting his or her judgement.
In addition to any other penalty that [my] MAY be  imposed,  failure  to
maintain  records in accordance with this subdivision shall subject such
[principal] creditor or agent to a civil penalty of not more than  fifty
dollars  per  subpoena,  up  to  a  maximum of five thousand dollars per
violation, in an action brought by the attorney general.
  S 602. CREDITOR RESPONSIBILITIES.  EVERY CREDITOR OR HIS OR HER  AGENT
SHALL SEND A NOTICE TO THE LAST KNOWN ADDRESS OF THE DEBTOR ADVISING THE
DEBTOR  WHEN  HIS  OR HER DEBT IS BEING SOLD OR TRANSFERRED, PRIOR TO OR
CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH THE SALE OF THE DEBT. A COPY OF THIS  NOTICE  SHALL
BE  TRANSMITTED  TO THE PERSON, FIRM, ORGANIZATION OR ENTITY TO WHOM THE

S. 1277                             4

CREDITOR OR HIS OR HER AGENT HAS AGREED TO SELL OR  TRANSFER  THE  DEBT,
ALONG  WITH  A  COPY OF ANY NOTICE IN REGARD TO THE DEBT PROVIDED TO THE
CREDITOR IN ACCORDANCE  WITH  PARAGRAPH  (B)  OF  SUBDIVISION  SEVEN  OF
SECTION  SIX  HUNDRED  THREE OF THIS ARTICLE. A CREDITOR SHALL PROVIDE A
COPY OF SUCH NOTICE TO ANY DEBT COLLECTOR HIRED TO COLLECT SUCH DEBT.
  S 603. PROHIBITED DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES.  IT IS AN  UNCONSCIONABLE
AND  DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE FOR A DEBT COLLECTOR TO ATTEMPT TO COLLECT
A DEBT OWED, DUE, OR ASSERTED TO BE OWED OR  DUE  EXCEPT  IN  ACCORDANCE
WITH THE FOLLOWING:
  1. ACQUISITION OF LOCATION INFORMATION. ANY DEBT COLLECTOR COMMUNICAT-
ING WITH ANY PERSON OTHER THAN THE CONSUMER FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACQUIRING
LOCATION  INFORMATION  ABOUT  THE  CONSUMER  IN  ORDER TO COLLECT A DEBT
SHALL:
  (A) IDENTIFY HIMSELF OR HERSELF, STATE THAT HE OR SHE IS CONFIRMING OR
CORRECTING  LOCATION  INFORMATION  ABOUT  THE  CONSUMER,  AND,  ONLY  IF
EXPRESSLY REQUESTED, IDENTIFY HIS OR HER EMPLOYER;
  (B) NOT STATE OR IMPLY THAT SUCH CONSUMER OWES ANY DEBT;
  (C)  NOT  COMMUNICATE  WITH  ANY  SUCH  PERSON  MORE THAN ONCE, UNLESS
REQUESTED TO DO SO BY SUCH PERSON OR UNLESS THE DEBT  COLLECTOR  REASON-
ABLY  BELIEVES  THAT THE EARLIER RESPONSE OF SUCH PERSON IS ERRONEOUS OR
INCOMPLETE AND THAT SUCH PERSON NOW HAS  CORRECT  OR  COMPLETE  LOCATION
INFORMATION. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH, THE DEBT COLLECTOR NEED
NOT  COUNT  AS  A COMMUNICATION RETURNED UNOPENED MAIL OR A MESSAGE LEFT
WITH A PARTY OTHER THAN THE PERSON THE DEBT COLLECTOR IS  ATTEMPTING  TO
REACH  IN  ORDER  TO ACQUIRE LOCATION INFORMATION ABOUT THE CONSUMER, AS
LONG AS THE MESSAGE IS LIMITED TO A TELEPHONE NUMBER, THE  NAME  OF  THE
DEBT  COLLECTOR  AND  A  REQUEST  THAT  THE RECIPIENT TELEPHONE THE DEBT
COLLECTOR;
  (D) NOT COMMUNICATE BY POST CARD;
  (E) NOT USE ANY LANGUAGE OR SYMBOL ON ANY ENVELOPE OR IN THE  CONTENTS
OF  ANY  COMMUNICATION  EFFECTED BY THE MAILS OR TELEGRAM THAT INDICATES
THAT THE DEBT COLLECTOR IS IN THE DEBT COLLECTION BUSINESS OR  THAT  THE
COMMUNICATION  RELATES TO THE COLLECTION OF A DEBT, PROVIDED THAT A DEBT
COLLECTOR MAY USE HIS OR HER BUSINESS NAME OR THE NAME OF  A  DEPARTMENT
WITHIN HIS OR HER ORGANIZATION AS LONG AS ANY NAME USED DOES NOT CONNOTE
DEBT COLLECTION; AND
  (F)  IF  THE  DEBT  COLLECTOR  KNOWS THE CONSUMER IS REPRESENTED BY AN
ATTORNEY WITH REGARD TO THE SUBJECT DEBT AND IF THE DEBT  COLLECTOR  HAS
KNOWLEDGE  OF  THE  ATTORNEY'S NAME AND ADDRESS OR CAN READILY ASCERTAIN
SUCH ATTORNEY'S NAME AND ADDRESS, NOT COMMUNICATE WITH ANY PERSON  OTHER
THAN  THAT  ATTORNEY  FOR  THE PURPOSE OF ACQUIRING LOCATION INFORMATION
ABOUT THE CONSUMER UNLESS THE ATTORNEY FAILS TO PROVIDE  THE  CONSUMER'S
LOCATION  WITHIN  A  REASONABLE  PERIOD  OF TIME AFTER A REQUEST FOR THE
CONSUMER'S LOCATION FROM THE DEBT COLLECTOR AND:
  (I) INFORMS THE DEBT COLLECTOR THAT HE OR SHE  IS  NOT  AUTHORIZED  TO
ACCEPT PROCESS FOR THE CONSUMER, OR
  (II) FAILS TO RESPOND TO THE DEBT COLLECTOR'S INQUIRY ABOUT THE ATTOR-
NEY'S  AUTHORITY  TO  ACCEPT  PROCESS WITHIN A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME
AFTER THE INQUIRY.
  2. COMMUNICATION IN CONNECTION WITH DEBT COLLECTION.  (A) WITHOUT  THE
PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE CONSUMER GIVEN DIRECTLY TO THE DEBT COLLEC-
TOR  AFTER  THE  INSTITUTION  OF  DEBT COLLECTION PROCEDURES, OR WITHOUT
PERMISSION OF A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION, A DEBT COLLECTOR  SHALL
NOT  COMMUNICATE  WITH THE CONSUMER IN CONNECTION WITH THE COLLECTION OF
ANY DEBT:

S. 1277                             5

  (I) ORALLY, AT ANY TIME OTHER THAN BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:00 A.M.  AND
9:00  P.M.  LOCAL  TIME  OR  ANY UNUSUAL PLACE KNOWN, OR WHICH SHOULD BE
KNOWN, TO BE INCONVENIENT TO THE CONSUMER;
  (II) AT THE CONSUMER'S PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT.  IF THE DEBT COLLECTOR HAS
RECEIVED  CONSENT  FROM THE CONSUMER TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE CONSUMER AT
THE CONSUMER'S PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT, THE DEBT COLLECTOR  MAY  COMMUNICATE
WITH THE CONSUMER, UNLESS THE DEBT COLLECTOR KNOWS OR HAS REASON TO KNOW
THAT  THE  CONSUMER'S EMPLOYER OR SUPERVISOR PROHIBITS THE CONSUMER FROM
RECEIVING SUCH A COMMUNICATION, OR
  (III) WITH EXCESSIVE FREQUENCY. IN THE ABSENCE OF KNOWLEDGE OF CIRCUM-
STANCES TO THE CONTRARY, A DEBT COLLECTOR SHALL ASSUME  THAT  MORE  THAN
TWICE  DURING  A  SEVEN-CALENDAR-DAY PERIOD IS EXCESSIVELY FREQUENT.  IN
MAKING ITS CALCULATION, THE DEBT COLLECTOR NEED NOT INCLUDE ANY COMMUNI-
CATION BETWEEN A CONSUMER AND THE DEBT COLLECTOR WHICH IS IN RESPONSE TO
AN ORAL OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION FROM THE CONSUMER, OR RETURNED UNOPENED
MAIL, OR A MESSAGE LEFT WITH A PARTY OTHER THAN ONE WHO  IS  RESPONSIBLE
FOR  THE  DEBT  AS LONG AS THE MESSAGE IS LIMITED TO A TELEPHONE NUMBER,
THE NAME OF THE DEBT COLLECTOR AND A REQUEST THAT ONE WHO IS RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE DEBT TELEPHONE THE DEBT COLLECTOR; OR ANY COMMUNICATION WHICH IS
REQUIRED BY LAW OR CHOSEN  FROM  AMONG  ALTERNATIVES  OF  WHICH  ONE  IS
REQUIRED BY LAW.
  (B)  IN ORDER TO COLLECT A DEBT, AND EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY SUBDIVISION
ONE OF THIS SECTION, WITHOUT THE PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT OF  THE  CONSUMER
GIVEN  DIRECTLY  TO  THE  DEBT  COLLECTOR  AFTER THE INSTITUTION OF DEBT
COLLECTION PROCEDURES, OR WITHOUT  THE  PRIOR  WRITTEN  CONSENT  OF  THE
CONSUMER'S  ATTORNEY  OR  WITHOUT  THE  EXPRESS PERMISSION OF A COURT OF
COMPETENT JURISDICTION, OR AS REASONABLY NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE A  POST
JUDGMENT  JUDICIAL  REMEDY,  A  DEBT  COLLECTOR  MAY NOT COMMUNICATE, IN
CONNECTION WITH THE COLLECTION OF ANY DEBT, WITH ANY PERSON  OTHER  THAN
THE CONSUMER, HIS OR HER ATTORNEY, A CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY IF OTHER-
WISE  PERMITTED  BY  LAW, THE CREDITOR, THE ATTORNEY OF THE CREDITOR, OR
ATTORNEY OF THE DEBT COLLECTOR.
  (C) AFTER INSTITUTION OF DEBT COLLECTION, A DEBT COLLECTOR  SHALL  NOT
COMMUNICATE  WITH  A CONSUMER WITH RESPECT TO A DEBT IF THE CONSUMER HAS
NOTIFIED THE DEBT COLLECTOR IN WRITING THAT THE CONSUMER REFUSES TO  PAY
A  DEBT OR WISHES THE DEBT COLLECTOR TO CEASE FURTHER COMMUNICATION WITH
THE CONSUMER WITH RESPECT TO THAT DEBT, EXCEPT:
  (I) TO ADVISE THE CONSUMER THAT THE DEBT COLLECTOR'S  FURTHER  EFFORTS
ARE BEING TERMINATED;
  (II)  TO NOTIFY THE CONSUMER THAT THE DEBT COLLECTOR MAY INVOKE SPECI-
FIED REMEDIES WHICH ARE ORDINARILY INVOKED BY SUCH DEBT COLLECTOR;
  (III) WHERE APPLICABLE, TO NOTIFY THE CONSUMER THAT THE DEBT COLLECTOR
INTENDS TO INVOKE A SPECIFIED REMEDY, OR
  (IV) TO RESPOND TO EACH SUBSEQUENT COMMUNICATION FROM THE CONSUMER.
  (D) FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBDIVISION THE TERM  "CONSUMER"  INCLUDES
THE  CONSUMER'S PARENT (IF THE CONSUMER IS A MINOR), GUARDIAN, EXECUTOR,
ADMINISTRATOR, AND SPOUSE (UNLESS THE DEBT COLLECTOR KNOWS OR HAS REASON
TO KNOW THAT THE CONSUMER IS LEGALLY SEPARATED FROM OR NO LONGER  LIVING
WITH  HIS OR HER SPOUSE), OR AN INDIVIDUAL AUTHORIZED BY THE CONSUMER TO
MAKE  PURCHASES  AGAINST  THE  ACCOUNT  WHICH  IS  THE  SUBJECT  OF  THE
COLLECTION  EFFORTS.  A  REQUEST  THAT  THE DEBT COLLECTOR CEASE FURTHER
COMMUNICATION, PROVIDED FOR UNDER  THIS  SUBDIVISION,  IF  MADE  BY  THE
CONSUMER'S  SPOUSE  OR  AN INDIVIDUAL AUTHORIZED BY THE CONSUMER TO MAKE
PURCHASES AGAINST THE ACCOUNT, ONLY AFFECTS THE DEBT COLLECTOR'S ABILITY
TO COMMUNICATE FURTHER WITH THE PERSON MAKING THE REQUEST.

S. 1277                             6

  3. HARASSMENT OR ABUSE. A DEBT COLLECTOR SHALL NOT HARASS, OPPRESS  OR
ABUSE  ANY  PERSON  IN CONNECTION WITH THE COLLECTION OF A DEBT. WITHOUT
LIMITING THE GENERAL APPLICATION OF THE FOREGOING, THE FOLLOWING CONDUCT
IS PROHIBITED:
  (A)  THE USE OR THREAT OF VIOLENCE OR OTHER CRIMINAL MEANS TO HARM THE
PHYSICAL PERSON, REPUTATION, OR PROPERTY OF ANY PERSON;
  (B) THE USE OF OBSCENE OR PROFANE LANGUAGE  OR  LANGUAGE  THE  NATURAL
CONSEQUENCE OF WHICH IS TO ABUSE THE RECIPIENT OF THE COMMUNICATION;
  (C)  THE  ADVERTISEMENT  FOR SALE OF ANY DEBT TO COERCE PAYMENT OF THE
DEBT;
  (D) CAUSING A TELEPHONE TO RING OR ENGAGING ANY  PERSON  IN  TELEPHONE
CONVERSATION  REPEATEDLY OR CONTINUOUSLY WITH INTENT TO ANNOY, ABUSE, OR
HARASS ANY PERSON AT THE CALLED NUMBER;
  (E) THE PUBLICATION OF A LIST OF CONSUMERS WHO ALLEGEDLY REFUSE TO PAY
DEBTS, EXCEPT TO ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OF THE DEBT COLLECTOR'S EMPLOYER OR TO
A CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY OR TO PERSONS MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF 15
USC 1681A(F) OR 15 USC 1681B(3); OR
  (F) EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, THE  PLACE-
MENT  OF  TELEPHONE  CALLS WITHOUT MEANINGFUL DISCLOSURE OF THE CALLER'S
IDENTITY.
  4. FALSE OR MISLEADING REPRESENTATIONS. A  DEBT  COLLECTOR  SHALL  NOT
MAKE  ANY  FALSE,  DECEPTIVE,  OR  MISLEADING REPRESENTATION OR MEANS IN
CONNECTION WITH THE COLLECTION OF ANY DEBT. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERAL
APPLICATION OF THE FOREGOING, THE FOLLOWING CONDUCT IS PROHIBITED:
  (A) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION THAT THE DEBT COLLECTOR IS
VOUCHED FOR, BONDED BY, OR AFFILIATED WITH  THE  UNITED  STATES  OR  ANY
STATE, INCLUDING THE USE OF ANY BADGE, UNIFORM OR FACSIMILE THEREOF;
  (B) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OF:
  (I) THE CHARACTER, AMOUNT, OR LEGAL STATUS OF ANY DEBT, OR
  (II)  ANY  SERVICES  RENDERED  OR  COMPENSATION  WHICH MAY BE LAWFULLY
RECEIVED BY ANY DEBT COLLECTOR FOR THE COLLECTION OF A DEBT;
  (C) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION THAT ANY INDIVIDUAL IS  AN
ATTORNEY OR ANY COMMUNICATION IS FROM AN ATTORNEY;
  (D) THE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION THAT NONPAYMENT OF ANY DEBT WILL
RESULT  IN  THE  ARREST  OR  IMPRISONMENT  OF ANY PERSON OR THE SEIZURE,
GARNISHMENT, ATTACHMENT, OR SALE OF ANY PROPERTY OR WAGES OF ANY  PERSON
UNLESS  SUCH ACTION IS LAWFUL AND THE DEBT COLLECTOR OR CREDITOR INTENDS
TO PURSUE SUCH ACTION;
  (E) THE THREAT TO TAKE ANY ACTION THAT CANNOT LEGALLY BE TAKEN OR THAT
IS NOT INTENDED TO BE TAKEN;
  (F) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION THAT A SALE, REFERRAL,  OR
OTHER TRANSFER OF ANY INTEREST IN A DEBT SHALL CAUSE THE CONSUMER TO:
  (I) LOSE ANY CLAIM OR DEFENSE TO PAYMENT OF THE DEBT; OR
  (II) BECOME SUBJECT TO ANY PRACTICE PROHIBITED BY THIS ARTICLE;
  (G)  THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION MADE IN ORDER TO DISGRACE
THE CONSUMER THAT THE CONSUMER COMMITTED ANY CRIME OR OTHER CONDUCT;
  (H) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION THAT  ACCOUNTS  HAVE  BEEN
TURNED OVER TO INNOCENT PURCHASERS FOR VALUE;
  (I)  COMMUNICATING  OR THREATENING TO COMMUNICATE TO ANY PERSON CREDIT
INFORMATION WHICH IS KNOWN OR WHICH SHOULD BE KNOWN TO BE FALSE, INCLUD-
ING THE FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE A DISPUTED DEBT'S STATUS AS DISPUTED;
  (J) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR IMPLICATION THAT DOCUMENTS  ARE  LEGAL
PROCESS;
  (K)  THE USE OF ANY FALSE REPRESENTATION OR DECEPTIVE MEANS TO COLLECT
OR ATTEMPT TO COLLECT ANY DEBT OR TO  OBTAIN  INFORMATION  CONCERNING  A
CONSUMER;

S. 1277                             7

  (L)  THE  USE OR DISTRIBUTION OF ANY WRITTEN COMMUNICATION WHICH SIMU-
LATES OR IS FALSELY REPRESENTED TO BE A DOCUMENT AUTHORIZED, ISSUED,  OR
APPROVED  BY  ANY  COURT,  OFFICIAL  OR AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES, THE
STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION THEREOF, OR  WHICH  CREATES  A  FALSE
IMPRESSION AS TO ITS SOURCE, AUTHORIZATION, OR APPROVAL;
  (M)  THE  FALSE  REPRESENTATION  OR IMPLICATION THAT DOCUMENTS ARE NOT
LEGAL PROCESS FORMS AND DO NOT REQUIRE ACTION BY THE CONSUMER;
  (N) THE FALSE REPRESENTATION OR  IMPLICATION  THAT  A  DEBT  COLLECTOR
OPERATES  OR IS EMPLOYED BY A CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY AS DEFINED BY 15
USC 1681A(F);
  (O) COMMUNICATING OR THREATENING TO COMMUNICATE TO ANY  PERSON  CREDIT
INFORMATION WHICH IS KNOWN OR WHICH SHOULD BE KNOWN TO BE FALSE, INCLUD-
ING THE FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE A DISPUTED DEBT'S STATUS AS DISPUTED;
  (P) EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED UNDER SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION
AND EXCEPT FOR ANY COMMUNICATION WHICH IS REQUIRED BY LAW OR CHOSEN FROM
AMONG ALTERNATIVES OF WHICH ONE IS REQUIRED BY LAW, OR ANY FORMAL PLEAD-
ING IN CONNECTION WITH ANY LEGAL ACTION, THE FAILURE TO DISCLOSE CLEARLY
IN  ALL  COMMUNICATIONS  MADE TO COLLECT A DEBT OR TO OBTAIN INFORMATION
ABOUT A CONSUMER, THAT THE DEBT COLLECTOR IS  ATTEMPTING  TO  COLLECT  A
DEBT AND THAT ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE; OR
  (Q)  THE USE OF ANY BUSINESS, COMPANY, OR ORGANIZATION NAME OTHER THAN
THE TRUE NAME OF THE DEBT COLLECTOR'S BUSINESS,  COMPANY,  OR  ORGANIZA-
TION.
  5.  UNFAIR  PRACTICES.  A  DEBT  COLLECTOR SHALL NOT USE ANY UNFAIR OR
UNCONSCIONABLE MEANS TO COLLECT OR ATTEMPT TO COLLECT  A  DEBT.  WITHOUT
LIMITATION OF THE FOREGOING, SUCH PROHIBITED CONDUCT INCLUDES:
  (A) THE COLLECTION OF ANY AMOUNT (INCLUDING ANY INTEREST, FEE, CHARGE,
OR EXPENSE INCIDENTAL TO THE PRINCIPAL OBLIGATION) UNLESS SUCH AMOUNT IS
EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY THE AGREEMENT CREATING THE DEBT;
  (B) THE SOLICITATION OR USE BY A DEBT COLLECTOR OF ANY POSTDATED CHECK
OR  OTHER POSTDATED PAYMENT INSTRUMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF THREATENING OR
INSTITUTING CRIMINAL PROSECUTION;
  (C) CAUSING CHARGES TO BE MADE TO ANY  PERSON  FOR  COMMUNICATIONS  BY
MISREPRESENTATION  OF  TRUE  PURPOSE  OF THE COMMUNICATION. SUCH CHARGES
INCLUDE COLLECT TELEPHONE CALLS, TELEGRAM AND WIRELESS TELEPHONE FEES;
  (D) TAKING OR THREATENING TO TAKE ANY  NONJUDICIAL  ACTION  TO  EFFECT
DISPOSSESSION OR DISABLEMENT OF PROPERTY IF:
  (I) THERE IS NO PRESENT RIGHT TO POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY CLAIMED AS
COLLATERAL;
  (II) THERE IS NO PRESENT INTENTION TO TAKE POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY;
OR
  (III)  THE  PROPERTY IS EXEMPT BY LAW FROM SUCH DISPOSSESSION OR DISA-
BLEMENT;
  (E) COMMUNICATING WITH A CONSUMER REGARDING A DEBT BY POST CARD;
  (F) USING ANY LANGUAGE OR SYMBOL,  OTHER  THAN  THE  DEBT  COLLECTOR'S
ADDRESS,  ON  ANY  ENVELOPE WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH A CONSUMER BY USE OF
THE MAILS OR BY TELEGRAM, OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION COPIED TO A  THIRD
PARTY  EXCEPT  THAT A DEBT COLLECTOR MAY USE HIS OR HER BUSINESS NAME OR
THE NAME OF A DEPARTMENT WITHIN HIS OR HER ORGANIZATION AS LONG  AS  ANY
NAME  USED  DOES  NOT INDICATE THAT HE OR SHE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF DEBT
COLLECTION;
  (G) COMMUNICATING WITH A CONSUMER REGARDING A DEBT WITHOUT IDENTIFYING
HIMSELF OR HERSELF AND HIS OR HER EMPLOYER OR COMMUNICATING  IN  WRITING
WITH  A CONSUMER REGARDING A DEBT WITHOUT IDENTIFYING HIMSELF OR HERSELF
BY NAME AND ADDRESS; OR

S. 1277                             8

  (H) IF ANY CONSUMER OWES MULTIPLE DEBTS AND MAKES ANY  SINGLE  PAYMENT
TO  ANY  DEBT  COLLECTOR WITH RESPECT TO SUCH DEBTS, SUCH DEBT COLLECTOR
MAY NOT APPLY SUCH PAYMENT TO ANY DEBT WHICH IS DISPUTED BY THE CONSUMER
AND, WHERE APPLICABLE, SHALL APPLY SUCH PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE  WITH  THE
CONSUMER'S DIRECTIONS.
  6.  DECEPTIVE  FORMS. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON TO DESIGN, COMPILE
AND FURNISH ANY FORM KNOWING THAT SUCH FORM WOULD BE USED TO CREATE  THE
FALSE BELIEF IN A CONSUMER THAT A PERSON OTHER THAN THE CREDITOR OF SUCH
CONSUMER  IS  PARTICIPATING  IN  THE  COLLECTION  OF OR IN AN ATTEMPT TO
COLLECT A DEBT SUCH CONSUMER ALLEGEDLY OWES SUCH CREDITOR, WHEN IN  FACT
SUCH PERSON IS NOT SO PARTICIPATING.
  7.  VALIDATION OF DEBTS.  THE FOLLOWING VALIDATION PROCEDURES SHALL BE
FOLLOWED BY DEBT COLLECTORS:
  (A) WITHIN FIVE DAYS AFTER THE INITIAL COMMUNICATION WITH  A  CONSUMER
IN  CONNECTION  WITH THE COLLECTION OF ANY DEBT, A DEBT COLLECTOR SHALL,
UNLESS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS CONTAINED IN  THE  INITIAL  COMMUNI-
CATION  OR  THE  CONSUMER  HAS  PAID THE DEBT, SEND THE CONSUMER A CLEAR
WRITTEN NOTICE TITLED "DEBTOR'S RIGHTS," WHICH SHALL CONTAIN:
  (I) THE DELINEATED AMOUNTS OF THE  ORIGINAL  DEBT,  ANY  INTEREST  AND
PENALTIES ACCRUED, AND THE TOTAL DEBT DUE AT THE TIME OF THE NOTICE,
  (II)  THE  NAME,  ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE CREDITOR TO WHOM
THE DEBT IS OWED, OR SUCH CREDITOR'S AGENT, AND THE  NAME,  ADDRESS  AND
TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR, IF DIFFERENT FROM THE CURRENT
DEBT COLLECTOR,
  (III) THE DATE THE DEBT WAS DEEMED IN DEFAULT,
  (IV)  A  STATEMENT  THAT UNLESS THE CONSUMER, WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER
RECEIPT OF THE NOTICE, DISPUTES THE VALIDITY OF THE DEBT, OR ANY PORTION
THEREOF, THE DEBT WILL BE ASSUMED VALID BY THE DEBT COLLECTOR, AND
  (V) A STATEMENT THAT, IF THE CONSUMER NOTIFIES THE DEBT  COLLECTOR  IN
WRITING  WITHIN  THE  THIRTY-DAY PERIOD AT THE ADDRESS DESIGNATED BY THE
DEBT COLLECTOR IN THE NOTICE, THAT THE DEBT, OR ANY PORTION  THEREOF  IS
DISPUTED,  THE  DEBT  COLLECTOR  WILL  OBTAIN  VERIFICATION  OF THE DEBT
AGAINST THE CONSUMER AND A COPY OF SUCH VERIFICATION WILL BE  MAILED  TO
THE CONSUMER BY THE DEBT COLLECTOR.
  (B)  IF THE CONSUMER NOTIFIES THE DEBT COLLECTOR IN WRITING WITHIN THE
THIRTY DAY PERIOD DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF  THIS  SUBDIVISION  THAT
THE  DEBT,  OR  ANY  PORTION  THEREOF  IS DISPUTED, OR IF NOTICE OF SUCH
DISPUTE IS GIVEN TO THE DEBT COLLECTOR IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS  ARTICLE,
THE  DEBT  COLLECTOR  SHALL NOT ATTEMPT TO COLLECT THE AMOUNT IN DISPUTE
UNTIL THE DEBT COLLECTOR OBTAINS AND MAILS TO THE CONSUMER  VERIFICATION
OF  THE DEBT.   A DEBT COLLECTOR THAT RECEIVES SUCH WRITTEN NOTICE SHALL
PROVIDE A COPY THEREOF TO THE OWNER OF THE DEBT.
  (C) THE DEBT COLLECTOR SHALL MAINTAIN FOR ONE YEAR FROM THE  DATE  THE
DEBTOR'S RIGHTS NOTICE WAS MAILED, DOCUMENTATION OF THE DATE SUCH NOTICE
WAS  MAILED,  THE DATE THE RESPONSE, IF ANY, WAS RECEIVED AND ANY ACTION
TAKEN FOLLOWING SUCH RESPONSE.
  (D) THE FAILURE OF A CONSUMER TO DISPUTE THE VALIDITY OF A DEBT  UNDER
THIS  SECTION  SHALL  NOT  BE  CONSTRUED BY ANY COURT AS AN ADMISSION OF
LIABILITY BY THE CONSUMER.
  (E) THE SENDING OR DELIVERY OF ANY  FORM  OR  NOTICE  WHICH  DOES  NOT
RELATE  TO  DEBT  COLLECTION  AND  IS EXPRESSLY REQUIRED BY THE INTERNAL
REVENUE CODE OF 1986, TITLE V OF  THE  GRAMM-LEACH-BLILEY  ACT,  OR  ANY
PROVISION  OF  FEDERAL  OR STATE LAW RELATING TO NOTICE OF DATA SECURITY
BREACH OR PRIVACY, OR ANY REGULATION PRESCRIBED UNDER ANY SUCH PROVISION
OF LAW, SHALL NOT BE TREATED AS AN INITIAL COMMUNICATION  IN  CONNECTION
WITH DEBT COLLECTION FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION.

S. 1277                             9

  (F)  IF  THE CONSUMER NOTIFIES THE DEBT COLLECTOR IN WRITING AFTER THE
THIRTY-DAY PERIOD DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF  THIS  SUBDIVISION  THAT
THE  DEBT,  OR ANY PORTION THEREOF IS DISPUTED, THE DEBT COLLECTOR SHALL
OBTAIN VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT,  AND  MAIL  SUCH  VERIFICATION  TO  THE
CONSUMER.  THE  DEBT  COLLECTOR  MAY  CONTINUE TO ATTEMPT TO COLLECT THE
AMOUNT IN DISPUTE.
  S 603-A. SELLING OR TRANSFERRING OF DEBTS. EVERY DEBT PURCHASER OR HIS
OR HER AGENT SHALL SEND A NOTICE TO THE LAST KNOWN ADDRESS OF THE DEBTOR
ADVISING THE DEBTOR WHEN THE DEBT PURCHASER SELLS OR TRANSFERS THE DEBT,
PRIOR TO OR CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH THE SALE OF THE DEBT. A  COPY  OF  SUCH
NOTICE  SHALL BE TRANSMITTED TO THE PERSON, FIRM, ORGANIZATION OR ENTITY
TO WHOM THE DEBT PURCHASER OR HIS OR HER AGENT HAS  AGREED  TO  SELL  OR
TRANSFER  THE DEBT ALONG WITH A COPY OF ANY NOTICE IN REGARD TO THE DEBT
PROVIDED TO THE DEBT PURCHASER  IN  ACCORDANCE  WITH  PARAGRAPH  (B)  OF
SUBDIVISION  SEVEN  OF SECTION SIX HUNDRED THREE OF THIS ARTICLE. A DEBT
PURCHASER SHALL PROVIDE A COPY OF SUCH  NOTICE  TO  ANY  DEBT  COLLECTOR
HIRED TO COLLECT SUCH DEBT.
  S  603-B.  PRIVATE  RIGHT  OF ACTION. (A) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY RIGHT OF
ACTION GRANTED TO ANY GOVERNMENTAL BODY PURSUANT TO  THIS  ARTICLE,  ANY
PERSON  WHO  HAS BEEN INJURED BY REASON OF VIOLATION OF THIS ARTICLE MAY
BRING AN ACTION AGAINST ANY PERSON OR PERSONS, TO ENJOIN  SUCH  UNLAWFUL
ACT,  AND  TO RECOVER AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO (1) ANY ACTUAL DAMAGE SUSTAINED
BY SUCH PERSON AS A RESULT OF SUCH  FAILURE,  AND  (2)  SUCH  ADDITIONAL
DAMAGES  AS  THE  COURT  MAY  ALLOW  BUT NOT EXCEEDING TWO THOUSAND FIVE
HUNDRED DOLLARS, AND REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES.
  (B) INTENT. A DEBT COLLECTOR MAY NOT BE  HELD  LIABLE  IN  ANY  ACTION
BROUGHT UNDER THIS ARTICLE, ABSENT ACTUAL DAMAGE TO THE CONSUMER, IF THE
DEBT  COLLECTOR  SHOWS BY A PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE THAT THE VIOLATION
WAS NOT INTENTIONAL AND RESULTED FROM A BONA FIDE ERROR  NOTWITHSTANDING
THE  MAINTENANCE  OF  PROCEDURES  REASONABLY  ADAPTED  TO AVOID ANY SUCH
ERROR.
  (C) LIMITATIONS. AN ACTION TO ENFORCE ANY LIABILITY  CREATED  BY  THIS
ARTICLE  MAY  BE  BROUGHT  IN ANY OTHER COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION,
WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE DATE ON WHICH THE VIOLATION OCCURS.
  S [602] 603-C.   Violations and  penalties.  1.  Except  as  otherwise
provided  by  law,  any person who [shall violate] VIOLATES the terms of
this article [shall be] IS  guilty  of  a  misdemeanor,  and  each  such
violation shall be deemed a separate offense.
  2.  The  attorney  general  or the district attorney of any county may
bring an action in the name of the people of the state  to  restrain  or
prevent  any  violation  of  this article or any continuance of any such
violation.
  3. Any aggrieved person or entity served with more than fifty informa-
tion subpoenas per month by a [principal] creditor or his or  her  agent
shall  also have a cause of action to challenge compliance with subdivi-
sion ten of section six hundred one of this article and/or  the  certif-
ication  requirements of rule fifty-two hundred twenty-four of the civil
practice law and rules. In such action, a successful plaintiff shall  be
awarded  ten  dollars  for  each  information  subpoena served upon such
plaintiff where it is shown that the  required  certification  for  such
information  subpoena  was  not  made pursuant to rule fifty-two hundred
twenty-four of the civil practice  law  and  rules,  that  the  required
record  for  such  information  subpoena  was not maintained pursuant to
subdivision ten of section six hundred one of this article, or that  the
specific grounds for the certification required to accompany such infor-
mation  subpoena  pursuant  to rule fifty-two hundred twenty-four of the

S. 1277                            10

civil practice law and rules were not reasonable. A successful plaintiff
may also be awarded court costs and attorney fees.
  S  [603] 603-D.  Severability. If any provision of this article or the
application thereof to any person or circumstances is held  invalid  the
invalidity  thereof shall not affect other provisions or applications of
the article which can be given effect without the invalid  provision  or
application,  and  to  this [and] END the provisions of this article are
severable.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next  succeed-
ing  the  date  on  which it shall have become a law, provided, however,
that section 602, subdivision 7 of section 603 and section 603-a of  the
general  business  law,  as added by this act, shall apply only to debts
incurred on or after the effective date of such sections.

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