Senator Franken of Minnesota is set to introduce a bill this week with the hopes of stopping abusive debt collection practices. In many ways, the bill is designed to compliment and enhance the FDCPA, which is over 32 years old.
More protection for consumers
Franken’s aim is to offer more protection for consumers. Instead of consumers bearing the burden of proving they do not owe a debt, the burden would be placed on debt collectors to establish the consumer actually owes a debt.
When a consumer receives a debt collection notice and challenges it, collectors would be required to verify that the money is actually owed.
In addition, debt collectors would have to provide detailed information about the alleged amount owed—including fees, interest, and what rights the consumer has in regards to collection and the debt.
The bill would also make it an unfair practice for debt collectors to arrest warrants and provide consumers the right to sue should that occur.
The bill would update the FDPCA and increase the penalties for abusive debt collection. In particular, penalties would be enhanced, including triple damages for willful violations of the law.
Part of Franken’s goal is to simply draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not, with the ultimate goal of reducing litigation related to these cases.