Pennsylvanians by the thousands are harassed each year by creditors and debt collectors, subjecting them to abusive collection calls, verbal attacks and threats of seizing property, jail time, garnishing wages and other outrageous threats. Why? Because abuse and harassment results in higher rates of collection for debt collector.
Today, social media provides access for creditors and debt collectors to cross the lines more than ever by posing as “friends” and/or posting shameful comments on message boards to embarrass people into paying a debt that may or may not be theirs.
Amazingly, even in 2013, Pennsylvania has no state law that protects consumers from collection harassment and only slightly more rights are afforded to victims of creditor abuse, if and only if they actually suffer a monetary loss. If a consumer in Pennsylvania cannot show a monetary loss resulting directly from the abuse and harassment, which is quite rare, they have no right to stop the conduct nor are entitled to any recovery. In short, the laws that are on the books have no teeth to stop such practices. As a result, creditors use the loopholes in the law to do things that other states not only forbid but also heavily sanction.
Pennsylvanians should be protected from abuse from collectors in the same way California and other states protect their citizens. We seek to update the law and ask you to join us. Put an end to harassment in the home, in the workplace and by calling cellular telephones. Urge our legislators to make civility in collection matters the rule and enforce it as appropriate.
If you feel as we do, we ask you to sign the petition below so that your support will be communicated to our lawmakers.
Petition to Amend Pennsylvania’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act
To: Pennsylvania state Senators and Representatives:
I, the undersigned, support amendment of the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) to protect consumers from abusive tactics of creditors, bill collectors and debt collectors. I believe there is no reason for the lack of civility, harassment and/or deception by first-party creditors or their third-party debt collectors in seeking payment and that such conduct must be punished for them to alter such behaviors.
I believe that when a consumer is sued for a debt, the party asserting the claim must present supporting documentation to prove the debt is valid at the time it is filed by attaching a copy of the written agreement under which the debt arises, all statements comprising the debt starting with a zero balance, and proof of any transfer in ownership of the debt from the first-party creditor to their successor. If such protections are not required, frivolous actions will continue to be filed by persons who cannot demonstrate the right to assert the claim, which if tolerated, harms consumers and wastes valuable judicial resources.
I favor amending the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) to protect Pennsylvanians from the conduct described above.
I support the following simple amendment:
- Violations of the provisions of the proposed amendment shall subject the bill collector, debt collector and creditor to a $500 civil penalty, payable to the consumer by the offending party, plus all attorney fees and costs expended by any attorney on behalf of the consumer.
- The $500 statutory damages shall be assessed against the bill collector, debt collector and/or creditor for each and every occurrence or violation of law.
- The amount of statutory damages mirror damages recoverable under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and reflect a more appropriate figure for 2013, as opposed to the $100 penalty assessed under the current provisions of law.
- The amendment should require a code of civility by any person or corporation seeking to collect a debt from a Pennsylvania citizen.
- The amendment should specifically state that a violation occurs from use of technology such as the Internet, voice over Internet Protocol and social media.
- The debt collector must provide validation of debt at the threshold of any court proceedings.
I sign this Petition of my own free will in hopes the law of the Commonwealth will protect and safeguard consumers from offensive conduct by those seeking to collect monies allegedly due.