A bill that would offer a technical fix to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) aimed at collection attorneys has picked up three additional co-sponsors this month in the U.S. House of Representatives, including two in the past week alone.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Technical Clarification Act of 2013 (H.R. 2892) was introduced last summer by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) with a bipartisan co-sponsor in Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). After being referred to the House Financial Services Committee, the bill was slow to gain support.
But there has been a flurry of activity lately, as three new Congressmen attached their names to the proposal. Just this week, two Republican representatives from North Carolina, George Holding and Robert Pittenger, co-sponsored the legislation. Earlier in March, Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) signed on.
H.R. 2892 offers a highly technical fix to the FDCPA that would exclude from the definition of “debt collector” any law firm or licensed attorney:
- serving, filing, or conveying formal legal pleadings, discovery requests, or other documents pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure; or
- communicating in, or at the direction of, a court of law or in depositions or settlement conferences, in connection with a pending legal action to collect a debt on behalf of a client.
The bill has been championed by the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA). The group noted that the bill offers a very technical fix to the FDCPA and would apply only when collection attorneys are “engaged in litigation practice within the purview of a court.” All other communications from collection attorneys must still comply with the FDCPA, according to the group.
The legislation is still with the Financial Services Committee. Both original co-sponsors and a majority of those that have been added to the bill are members of that committee, with Bachus serving as Chairman Emeritus.