NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A711
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):
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:
This act will take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2019-2020 Regular Sessions
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
14 § 4. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
15 have become a law.