State to Hear Debt Purchaser Notification Bill    
Industry News

By Patrick Lunsford, insideARM.com

A state bill in Massachusetts that would require debt purchasers to notify consumers when their accounts are bought is scheduled for a public hearing by a joint committee next week. But proponents admit the bill might not be heard for a while.

State Rep. Joyce Spiliotis, a Democrat from Peabody, Mass., introduced House bill No. 1104 in the Massachusetts House of Representatives at the beginning of the year. The bill requires debt purchasers to notify debtors in writing when their accounts are bought, the dollar amount of the debt, the original creditor, the date the debt was bought, and any additional fees and charges the purchaser is entitled to charge in the collection of the debt.

According to the Website of the Massachusetts General Court -- the formal name of the legislative body in the state –- the bill is slated to be heard by the Joint Committee Financial Services on November 7. But a legislative aide in Spiliotis' office told insideARM.com that a scheduled hearing “doesn’t mean it will necessarily happen.” The chairman of the committee, Rep. Ronald Mariano on the House side, ultimately sets the hearing schedule, according to the aide.

The Spiliotis bill also calls on debt purchasers to send a written update to the consumer every month with the remaining unpaid balance, and any activity on the account, such as payments and interest or penalties charged. The bill also adds “debt-purchaser” to the definitions that cover collection agencies as “a person that purchases a debt.”

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