House Committee Approves Legislation to Amend FDCPA and Regulations of Debt Collection Attorneys

Support of the Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act continues in the 115th Congress.

3/21/2018 3:00 PM

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House Committee Approves Legislation to Amend FDCPA and Regulations of Debt Collection Attorneys

The House Financial Services Committee, after a markup March 21, approved H.R. 5082, the “Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2018,” in a 35-25 vote largely along party lines.

U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.V., reintroduced the bill in late February. U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich., who is retiring after his second term and will not seek re-election this year, was the original sponsor of the bill in the 115th Congress.

The legislation amends the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to exclude law firms and licensed attorneys who are engaged in activities related to legal proceedings from the definition of debt collector.

The bill also amends the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to clarify that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may not exercise supervisory or enforcement authority with respect to attorneys engaged in the practice of law and not offering or providing consumer financial products or services.

Specifically, H.R. 5082 “amends the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to exclude from the definition of ‘debt collector’ any law firm or licensed attorney engaged in litigation activities in connection with a legal action in a court of law to collect a debt on behalf of a client to the extent that such legal action is served on the defendant debtor, or service is attempted, in accordance with the applicable statute or rules of civil procedure,” according to the committee memorandum for Wednesday’s markup.

The litigation activities, according to the memorandum, include:

  • Serving, filing, or conveying formal legal pleadings, discovery requests, or other documents pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure, or;
  • Communicating in, or at the direction of, a court of law, or in the enforcement of a judgment, or;
  • Any other activities engaged in as part of the practice of law, under the laws of a state in which the attorney is licensed that relate to the legal action.

ACA maintains that this bill is important to ensure that federal regulators do not impermissibly use their authority to regulate the practice of law, an authority that is properly left to the judicial branch. This bill is particularly critical to put a stop to the CFPB’s unauthorized overreach into the practice of law, a strategy that has substantially harmed debt collection attorneys.

The bill now moves to the House floor for consideration.

Related Content from ACA International:

House Subcommittee Considers Legislation to Amend FDCPA and the Consumer Financial Protection Act Regulations of Debt Collection Attorneys


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

House Committee Approves Legislation to Amend FDCPA and Regulations of Debt Collection Attorneys

The House Financial Services Committee, after a markup March 21, approved H.R. 5082, the “Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act of 2018,” in a 35-25 vote largely along party lines.

U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.V., reintroduced the bill in late February. U.S. Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich., who is retiring after his second term and will not seek re-election this year, was the original sponsor of the bill in the 115th Congress.

The legislation amends the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to exclude law firms and licensed attorneys who are engaged in activities related to legal proceedings from the definition of debt collector.

The bill also amends the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 to clarify that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may not exercise supervisory or enforcement authority with respect to attorneys engaged in the practice of law and not offering or providing consumer financial products or services.

Specifically, H.R. 5082 “amends the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to exclude from the definition of ‘debt collector’ any law firm or licensed attorney engaged in litigation activities in connection with a legal action in a court of law to collect a debt on behalf of a client to the extent that such legal action is served on the defendant debtor, or service is attempted, in accordance with the applicable statute or rules of civil procedure,” according to the committee memorandum for Wednesday’s markup.

The litigation activities, according to the memorandum, include:

  • Serving, filing, or conveying formal legal pleadings, discovery requests, or other documents pursuant to the applicable rules of civil procedure, or;
  • Communicating in, or at the direction of, a court of law, or in the enforcement of a judgment, or;
  • Any other activities engaged in as part of the practice of law, under the laws of a state in which the attorney is licensed that relate to the legal action.

ACA maintains that this bill is important to ensure that federal regulators do not impermissibly use their authority to regulate the practice of law, an authority that is properly left to the judicial branch. This bill is particularly critical to put a stop to the CFPB’s unauthorized overreach into the practice of law, a strategy that has substantially harmed debt collection attorneys.

The bill now moves to the House floor for consideration.

Related Content from ACA International:

House Subcommittee Considers Legislation to Amend FDCPA and the Consumer Financial Protection Act Regulations of Debt Collection Attorneys


Follow ACA International on Twitter @ACAIntl and @acacollector, Facebook and request to join our LinkedIn group for news and event updates. ACA International members are welcome to submit news items for possible publication to comm@acainternational.org. Visit our publications page for news submission guidelines and subscriptions to ACA Daily, Collector magazine and Pulse.

Advertising is available for companies wishing to promote their products or services. Be sure to visit the ACA Events Calendar on the Education and Training page to view our listing of upcoming CORE Curriculum and Hot Topic seminars featuring critical educational opportunities for your company.


Subscribe to ACA Daily NEWSROOM

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