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S00737 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         737--A
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                       (Prefiled)
 
                                     January 6, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  Sens.  BIAGGI, PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed,
          and when  printed  to  be  committed  to  the  Committee  on  Consumer
          Protection -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as
          amended and recommitted to said committee

        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 each communication can be
    20  provided in an  alternative,  reasonably  accommodatable,  format.  Such
    21  disclosure shall substantively contain the following:
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD02903-02-1

        S. 737--A                           2
 
     1    (a)  A statement that the consumer may request the letter in an alter-
     2  native, reasonably accommodatable format selected by the principal cred-
     3  itor or debt collector such as large print, braille, audio compact disc,
     4  or other means; and
     5    (b)  A business phone number that the consumer may call to make such a
     6  request.
     7    2. For the purposes of this section,  a  principal  creditor  or  debt
     8  collector  providing  reasonable  accommodation  in  compliance with the
     9  Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 shall  not  be  deemed  to  have
    10  violated any provision herein.
    11    §  3.  Subdivision  1  of  section 602 of the general business law, as
    12  added by chapter 753 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows:
    13    1. Except as otherwise provided by law, any person who [shall violate]
    14  violates the terms of section six hundred one of this article [shall be]
    15  is guilty of a misdemeanor, and each such violation shall  be  deemed  a
    16  separate  offense.    A  violation  by any person of section six hundred
    17  one-a of this article, if such  violation  constitutes  the  first  such
    18  offense  by  such person, is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed
    19  two hundred fifty dollars. The second offense and any offense  committed
    20  thereafter  is  punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred
    21  dollars.
    22    § 4. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day  after  it  shall
    23  have become a law.
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