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Barney Frank reintroduces Fair Debt Collection Practices Act amendment

May 23, 2012 Philip Burgess

Debt collection agents have many rules and regulations to follow when completing their recovery duties. Different laws dictate when, how and to whom they can speak. A Massachusetts representative is now trying to change one of the integral acts surrounding the practice. On May 17, Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank reintroduced an amendment that would change part of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that governs the way agents contact debtors. The official text of HR 5794 has yet to be released, though InsideARM predicted it will be very similar to the proposed amendment Frank brought to the House Committee on Financial Services in February, which has not come up in official discussions since late April. InsideARM reported the bills are likely similar because the titles are the same. The purposes of the proposed amendments are to amend the FDCPA to "exempt a debt collector from liability when leaving certain voice mail messages for a consumer with respect to a debt as long as the debt collector follows regulations." If that is the case, Congress can expect to see propositions regarding the language that can be used in voice mail messages. HR 4101 also touched on limiting the right of a collector to rely on lawyers to settle a debt dispute if not called upon by the consumer in writing.