House Committee Okays Bill to Amend FDCPA to Exclude Law Firms from Definition of “Debt Collector”

Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP
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The House Financial Services Committee voted 35-25 on March 21, 2018 to advance H.R. 5082, officially known as the “Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2018,” to the full House of Representatives. The bill, if enacted, would amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to exclude from the definition of “debt collector” all law firms or licensed attorneys working in connection with “a legal action in a court of law to collect a debt on behalf of a client,” including: 

  • 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 the enforcement of a judgment; or
  • any other activities engaged in as part of the practice of law, under the laws of a State in which the attorney is licensed, that relate to the legal action.
The bill would also amend the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to clarify that the CFPB may not exercise supervisory or enforcement authority with respect to attorneys engaged in the practice of law and not offering or providing consumer financial products or services.

The bill will now advance to the full House. We will keep you updated as H.R. 5082 proceeds through the lawmaking process.

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