Debt collection

DC Council Revises Debt Collection Laws | WDVM25 and DCW50

WASHINGTON DC (WDVM) – The District of Columbia Council has passed legislation that will protect residents from aggressive debt collection as the country recovers from the pandemic.

On Tuesday, council voted to expand the already existing debt collection act, which was originally passed in the 1970s. Council president Phil Mendelson said the district’s current debt collection act ” offers much lower protections than many states or even the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. “

“Because we are lifting the public health emergency and there are provisions in public health emergency law relating to debt collection, this bill replaces these protections,” Council President Mendelson said at the time. of Tuesday’s meeting.

The new emergency legislation expands the definition of debt to include all consumer debt, including medical debt and credit card debt. It also aims to regulate the use of voice mail by debt collectors, as the technology was not widely available when the original legislation was enacted in 1971.

Council President Mendelson also stressed that there must be more extensive limitations on debt collectors, as recommended by consumer protection practices.

The legislation would also ban excessive communications that could qualify as harassment, such as making more than three phone calls in a seven-day period. The legislation would also prohibit deceptive behavior and expand the definition of the current law. The Council President cited examples of a debt collector taking threatening actions that are not legally permitted, threatening to disclose false information, or seeking to collect this debt from people with no legal obligation to pay it. The law goes so far as to prohibit debt collectors from seeking to collect debts owed by a deceased consumer.

The bill also sets out the documentation that a debt buyer or a third party must obtain or possess before making a claim. The bill also caps attorney fees that must be paid by individual consumers, meaning that a debt collector cannot collect more than 15% of the debt in attorney fees.

For the full copy of the legislation, please visit the District of Columbia Council website.


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