On Friday, four bills were introduced in the House of Representatives by House Financial Services Committee members to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in different ways. The four bills include:
- H.R. 5001, introduced by Rep. Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-MO), which would extend the definition of debt collector to those whose principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests.
- H.R. 5003, introduced by Rep. Madeline Dean (D-PA), which would provide enhanced protections against debt collector harassment to members of the Armed Forces.
- H.R. 5013, introduced by Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL), which would extend FDCPA protections—currently only available to consumers—to small businesses.
- H.R. 5021, introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), which would improve consumer protections relating to debt collection practices.
Texts of these bills are not yet available.
This large push to amend the FDCPA by the House Financial Services Committee does not come as a shock, considering the Committee’s recent hearings with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Director Kathleen Kraninger. A lot of the issues raised in these amendments, such as enhanced protections for members of the Armed Forces and extending protections to small businesses, were highlighted at recent hearings.
H.R. 5001, which would extend the definition of debt collector to those enforcing security interests, is likely stemmed from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP, where the court found that the FDCPA does not extend to law firms performing non-judicial foreclosures. This bill aims to close that gap.