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For Immediate Release:

U.S. House Committee to Consider Crucial Debt Collection Reforms

Today, the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services will hold a markup of the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act, H.R. 2547, a package of bills aimed at improving consumer protections against abusive debt collection practices.

NACA joined consumer groups in a letter to the Committee.

Below is the statement of Christine Hines, legislative director, National Association of Consumer Advocates:

We thank the committee for taking up this bill package that would update protections for working families against debt collection abuses. We welcome the bill’s proposal to finally adjust statutory damages available under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for inflation and index them for inflation in the future — for the first time since the law passed nearly 44 years ago. While statutory remedies for victims of debt collection violations have stayed stagnant since 1977, the average price of a home has increased by 988% and the cost of a one-night hospital stay has gone up 286%.

We also hope the committee will pass the other much-needed protections this package would bring to the 68 million Americans with debts in collections. Prohibiting certain abusive practices directed at servicemembers, including threats to reduce rank or revoke security clearance; stopping collection of medical debt for the first two years and credit reporting of debt arising from any medically necessary procedures; extending FDCPA coverage for all federal, state, and local debts collected by debt collectors; and other proposals, are necessary additions to the consumer protection landscape, especially now during a global pandemic that has jeopardized household finances across the country.