New Jersey Collection Agencies Informative - NJ Bill Would Require Collectors to Send Copies of FDCPA to Debtors
NEW JERSEY -- A bill introduced recently in the New Jersey General Assembly would require debt collection agencies operating in the state to provide debtors with additional information about their accounts, a copy of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and would increase fines per violation to at least $10,000.
The proposal, A3839, was introduced by Democrat Assemblyman Paul Moriarty of Gloucester. Moriarty said of the bill, "Debt collectors may have a responsibility to get consumers to make good on what they owe, but they also have an obligation to treat consumers with respect and within the rule of law."
Among the provisions that go beyond the federal FDCPA are rules that follow the FTC’s recent recommendations for debt collectors (“FTC Proposes Significant Changes to FDCPA in Workshop Report,” Feb. 27).
The New Jersey bill would require collectors, in their communications with debtors, to provide:
* The amount of the debt owed to the creditor
separately stating any additional fees and
* the name of the creditor to whom the debt is
* verification of the debt or a copy of a
judgment against the debtor; and
* a copy of the United States Fair Debt
Collections Practices Act.
The bill is enforceable under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. 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, the assessment of punitive damages and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured.
A3839 has been referred to the Consumer Affairs Committee in New Jersey’s General Assembly.