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Post Star News: Assembly Approves Consumer Credit Fairness Act

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Post Star News

Saugerties, NY

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol announced the passage of the Consumer Credit Fairness Act to protect working families, domestic violence victims, seniors and low-income New Yorkers from overly aggressive debt collection practices.

“There is an epidemic of unfair debt collection lawsuits in New York State. In many instances, these actions are brought against low and moderate income New Yorkers who are not aware a lawsuit has been filed against them, leaving them with little recourse and ruining their credit for many years,” said Silver. “Unfortunately, the justice system is being abused by unscrupulous third party debt buyers and harming vulnerable New Yorkers. This bill would institute several measures to address these abusive debt collection practices and combat this menace.”

The Consumer Credit Fairness Act (A.2678/Weinstein), which passed yesterday, would curb abusive debt collection lawsuits by:

requiring notice of a pending consumer credit action to be mailed to the defendants by the clerk of the court;

requiring court filings to include more information about the debt targeted in a lawsuit, such as identifying the debt or account and providing proof that the debt is owed to the plaintiff;

lowering the statute of limitations for consumer credit transactions from six years to three years, and eliminating the right to collect the debt once the statute of limitations is expired; and

terminating the ability of debt buyers to sue on expired debt.

“Abusive debt collection lawsuits exploit gaps in our state’s laws,” said Weinstein. “This bill takes important steps to close these loopholes to protect consumers and helps to address the long-term impact of economic abuse, including identity theft, which is often suffered by domestic violence victims at the hands of their abusers.”

“All New Yorkers, particularly our working families and seniors, deserve fair treatment and full disclosure when dealing with debt collection procedures,” said Lentol. “Through the approval of this legislation, we will put an end to abusive debt collection practices by making the process more transparent and equitable.”

Claudia Wilner, Senior Staff Attorney at NEDAP, a member of New Yorkers for Responsible Lending, said, “NEDAP applauds the New York State Assembly and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein for passing the Consumer Credit Fairness Act (CCFA), which will protect New Yorkers from harassment by dishonest debt collectors. We now call upon the Senate to pass the CCFA this legislative session to put an end to abusive debt collection practices. New Yorkers, particularly those who are low-income, elderly, disabled or domestic violence survivors, have been harassed by these unscrupulous debt collectors for far too long.”