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  • NJ A1764
  • "Consumer Credit Fairness Act."
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill establishes the "Consumer Credit Fairness Act" and is intended to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts by debt buyers. The bill defines "debt buyer" as "a person that is engaged in the business of purchasing delinquent or charged-off consumer loans or consumer credit accounts or other delinquent consumer debt for collection purposes, whether it collects the debt itself, hires a third party for collection, or engages an attorney for litigation in order to collect the debt." Under the bill, debt buyers may not collect or attempt to collect any debt by use of any unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices. The bill specifically prohibits debt buyers from: ? Seeking certain written statements or acknowledgments from a debtor affirming the debt or waivers of the debtor's legal rights, without disclosing: ? that the debtor is not legally obligated to do so; and ? the consequences of such a statement, acknowledgment, or waiver; ? Collecting the debt buyer's fee or any related charge from the debtor, unless legally permitted to do so; ? Communicating with a debtor if the debt buyer has been notified by the debtor's attorney that the debtor is represented by the attorney; and ? Attempting to collect on a debt after the statute of limitations has passed, without proper documentation and verification of the debt, or without first giving proper notice. The bill requires certain information to be included with all causes of action initiated by debt buyers and outlines which types of evidence are sufficient to establish the amount and nature of the debt. The bill specifies that violations of its provisions would constitute an unlawful practice, but makes a change with regards to how damages are awarded. An unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense. In addition, a violation can result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General and the assessment of punitive damages. Typically, a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act could also result in the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured, but the bill specifies that, in lieu of this provision, debtors aggrieved by a debt buyers are entitled to actual damages up to $1,000, court costs, and punitive damages.
Not specified
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified