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A00711 Summary:

COSPNSRWright, Barron, Kim, Dinowitz, Epstein, Simon, Frontus, Richardson, D'Urso, Fall, Sayegh, Weprin, Rosenthal D, Blake, Reyes, Solages, Abinanti, Cruz, Seawright, Otis
Amd §§600 & 602, add §601-b, Gen Bus L
Requires debt collectors to inform debtors in each initial communication that written communications are available in large print format.
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A00711 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring debt collectors to inform debtors that written communi- cations are available in large print format   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would require debt collectors to notify debtors of the avail- ability of large print for future notices. For the purposes of this bill, it also defines a "communication, debt, and debt collector."   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends section 600 of the general business law, adding three new subdivision which offer definitions of relevant terms for this bill. Section 2 amends the general business law by adding a new section, 601-a, which required creditors or debt collectors to offer, upon initial communication, large print for any further communications that the debtor may receive. Furthermore, this section defines what large print will qualify as. Section 3 amends subdivision 1 of section 602 of the general business law, to add a misdemeanor penalty that any creditor or debtor who violates the requirements set forth in section 601-a of this bill will be guilty of. This section also determines a fine and the dollar amount of this fine. Section 4 sets the effective date.   DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION (IF APPLICABLE):   JUSTIFICATION: This bill would offer some protection to debtors who suffer from vision problems. Often times debt collectors will bombard debtors with informa- tion that can be intimidating and also difficult to understand. This bill at the very least would ensure that debtors who suffer from poor vision would be able to receive notice that the communications they are receiving can be provided in large print. This service will insure that those who are intended to read, understand, and comply with these commu- nications, are better prepared to do so.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2017-2018:S2199(Parker)/A7860(Niou) - referred to consumer protection/ordered third reading cal.555 2015-2016: A1933 - third reading calendar no. 361/S2515 2013-14: A374/S5386 - passed assembly/referred to consumer protection 2011-2012: A5438 - referred to codes   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act will take effect immediately.
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A00711 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                     January 9, 2019
        Introduced  by  M.  of  A. NIOU, WRIGHT -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection
        AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring  debt
          collectors to inform debtors that written communications are available
          in large print format

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Section 600 of the  general  business  law  is  amended  by
     2  adding three new subdivisions 5, 6 and 7 to read as follows:
     3    5. "Communication" shall mean the conveying of information regarding a
     4  debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium.
     5    6.  "Debt" means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to
     6  pay money arising out of a transaction in  which  the  money,  property,
     7  insurance,  or  services  which  are  the subject of the transaction are
     8  primarily for personal, family, or household purposes,  whether  or  not
     9  such obligation has been reduced to judgment.
    10    7.  "Debt  collector"  means  an individual who, as part of his or her
    11  job, regularly collects or attempts to collect debts: (a) owed or due or
    12  asserted to be owed or due to another; or (b) obtained by,  or  assigned
    13  to,  such person, firm or corporation, that are in default when obtained
    14  or acquired by such person, firm or corporation.
    15    § 2. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 601-b
    16  to read as follows:
    17    § 601-b. Large print notices. 1. Each and every principal creditor  or
    18  debt  collector  shall,  in  each  initial  communication,  clearly  and
    19  conspicuously disclose to the debtor that  written  communications  from
    20  the  principal  creditor  or  debt  collector may be received in a large
    21  print format. Upon written request by a debtor, the  principal  creditor
    22  or  debt  collector  must  provide any written communication sent to the
    23  debtor in the large print format.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 711                              2
     1    2. For the purposes of this section, large print format shall  mean  a
     2  printed font size of sixteen or larger.
     3    §  3.  Subdivision  1  of  section 602 of the general business law, as
     4  added by chapter 753 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows:
     5    1. Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who [shall violate]
     6  violates the terms of section six hundred one of this article [shall be]
     7  is guilty of a misdemeanor, and each such violation shall  be  deemed  a
     8  separate  offense.    A  violation  by any person of section six hundred
     9  one-a of this article, if such  violation  constitutes  the  first  such
    10  offense  by  such person, is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed
    11  two hundred fifty dollars. The second offense and any offense  committed
    12  thereafter  is  punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred
    13  dollars.
    14    § 4. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day  after  it  shall
    15  have become a law.
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