SPONSOR: Rep Bachus (Alabama R) (introduced 03/13/97)
A bill to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to reduce the cost of credit, and for other purposes.
Rep Sensenbrenner - 04/10/97 --- Rep Dickey - 04/10/97 ---
Rep Cubin - 04/10/97 --- Rep King - 05/08/97
HR 1059 IH
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 13, 1997
Mr. BACHUS introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Banking and Financial Services
To amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to reduce the cost of credit, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Credit Cost Reduction Act of 1997'.
SEC. 2. EXEMPTION FOR COMMUNICATIONS
INVOLVING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
Section 803(2) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692a(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: `Such term does not include actions taken pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; in the case of a proceeding in a State court, the rules of civil procedure available under the laws of such State; or a nonjudicial foreclosure.'.
SEC. 3. COLLECTION ACTIVITY FOLLOWING INITIAL NOTICE.
Section 809 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692(g)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(d) CONTINUATION DURING PERIOD- Collection activities and communications may continue during the 30-day period described in subsection (a) unless the consumer requests the cessation of such activities.'.
SEC. 4. LIABILITY FOR NONCOMPLIANCE.
(a) CLARIFICATION OF LIMITATION ON CLASS ACTION AWARDS- Section 813(a)(2)(B) (15 U.S.C. 1692k(a)(2)(B)) is amended--
(1) by inserting `or any series of class actions arising out of the same violations by the same debt collector' after `case of a class action'; and
(2) by inserting `of such class action or series of class actions' after `all other class members'.
(b) ATTORNEYS FEES TO ENFORCE CIVIL LIABILITY- Paragraph (3) of section 813(a) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692k(a)) is amended to read as follows:
`(3) subject to subsection (f), in the case of a successful action to enforce a liability under paragraph (1) or (2), the costs of the action, including reasonable attorney's fees, as determined by the court, in an amount not to exceed the amount awarded in such action under the applicable paragraph.'.
(c) RULES APPLICABLE TO CERTAIN ACTIONS- Section 813 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692k) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(f) RULES APPLICABLE TO ACTIONS UNDER THIS TITLE- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in any action arising under this title, for purposes of Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the following provisions shall apply:
`(1) PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY'S FEES- Costs shall include reasonable fees for the plaintiff's attorney.
`(2) DISALLOWANCE OF CERTAIN FEES ACCRUING AFTER REFUSAL OF SETTLEMENT OFFER- In accordance with Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, if--
`(A) an offer is made by the debt collector to a consumer bringing an action (including any class action or series of class actions referred to in subsection (a)(2)(B)) under this title, and the offer is not accepted; and
`(B) the amount of the final judgment awarded to the consumer (or, in the case of a class action or series of class actions, the total amount awarded to all class members in such class action or series of class actions) is less than or equal to the amount of the offer referred to in subparagraph (A),
the consumer (or the class with regard to a class action or series of class actions) may not be awarded or otherwise recover costs for attorney's fees incurred after the date such offer is rejected.'.
(d) FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION- Section 813(b) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692k(b)) is amended--
(1) in the portion of such subsection which precedes paragraph (1), by striking `liability in any action' and inserting `any award'; and
(2) by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following new paragraph:
`(1) In any action under subsection (a)(2)(A), the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector, the nature of such noncompliance, the extent to which the such noncompliance was intentional, and the amount of actual damages awarded; or'.