California Enacts Amended Law with Debt Collection Requirements when Working with Service Members

The law, effective Jan. 1, 2019, also includes changes to credit reporting processes.

10/10/2018 3:00 PM

NewsStateGovernment
California Enacts Amended Law with Debt Collection Requirements when Working with Service Members

A bill (AB-3212) with amendments to the California Military and Veterans Code, including additional credit reporting and debt collection requirements when working with service members, takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

According to The National Law Review , the changes provide more protections for “qualifying service members.”

For debt collections, according to the article, the law:

“Prevents a debt collector from falsely claiming to be a member of the military in attempting to collect any obligation. A violation of this new provision is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, or both” and;

“Expressly prohibits a debt collector from contacting the servicemember’s military unit or chain of command in connection with the collection of any obligation unless the debt collector obtains written consent from the servicemember after the obligation becomes due and payable. A violation of this new provision is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, or both.”

Under credit reporting requirements, creditors or consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from noting active duty status on a service member’s record.

In general under the law, most protections for service members are extended to 120 days after completion of military service, The National Law Review reports. Additionally, it includes a 6 percent interest rate cap for student loans in effect for one year after military service.

Finally, when receiving a request for relief from a service member, the person or agency will have a 30-day window to respond. The response must acknowledge the request and provide reasons as to why the service member may not be entitled to the requested relief or why the request is incomplete. If the recipient does not respond with the 30-day window, the service member is automatically entitled to the relief sought.

ACA International members in California will want to review their policies and procedures for working with service members before the Jan. 1, 2019, effective date. More information on requirements for working with service members is available in ACA International’s SearchPoint library under the “servicemembers” tab.

Read more about additional protections in the law in The National Law Review report.

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