Pressley Announces House Passage of Her Bill to Protect Consumers from Abusive Debt Collection

May 13, 2021
Press Release
Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act Included in Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act

Bill Text (PDF) | One-Pager (PDF) | Floor Speech (YouTube)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) announced the House passage of her Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act, legislation that requires the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to further regulate the debt collection industry to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive or abusive acts by debt collectors. Her legislation was included in the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act, which passed the House of Representatives this afternoon.

“Due to decades of policy failures that have pushed working people to the margins, millions of Americans are forced to take on significant debt just to survive. That is especially true during this pandemic, and debt collectors have preyed on that reality, making record profits by using aggressive tactics to scare and exploit people,” said Rep. Pressley. “My bill provides the needed protection from mistreatment and harassment that our constituents need now more than ever, and I’m glad that it is one step closer to becoming law.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Prevent debt collectors from harassing consumers with unlimited electronic communication, including texts and emails;
  • Require collectors provide consumers with clear disclosures of their rights and a simple way of opting out of communication; and
  • Improve reporting around debt collection consumer complaints including a breakdown of complaints by states and a specific reporting on the use of electronic communication.

Rep. Pressley discussed the legislation, which was originally introduced in October 2019, today in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. A full transcript of her remarks, as delivered, is available below and video of her speech is available here.

Transcript: Rep. Pressley Discusses Her Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act
U.S. House of Representatives
May 13, 2021

Madam Speaker,

I rise today in support of the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act, which includes my bill, and I thank the Chairwoman for that, the Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act.

Like many, my mother took pride in paying her bills and paying them on time. But after  several life-disruptive events -- the death of an immediate family member, a layoff, and a mandatory surgery -- there came a point where she could no longer afford it.

No matter how hard she worked, we owed everyone -- the utility company, the landlord, the bank -- and we were frequently harassed by debt collectors.

Our story is the story of millions of families.

Due to poverty wages, a lack of affordable health care, the absence of paid leave, and other policy failures, which push working people to the margins, millions of people in America are forced to take on significant debt to survive.

This is especially true during times of crisis. And debt collectors prey on that reality.

They are making record profits during a pandemic, using aggressive tactics to scare and to exploit people.

Consumer complaints of shaming tactics, of intimidation, of harassment, especially from our elders, continue to rise, year after year.

This bill provides the needed protection from mistreatment and harassment.

I urge my colleagues to vote yes.

Thank you and I yield.

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