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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

New York expands consumer protections

State Issues NYDFS Consumer Finance Debt Collection New York Consumer Protection State Legislation

State Issues

On November 8, the New York governor signed several pieces of legislation relating to consumer protection. Among those, S.153 /A.2832 enacts The Consumer Credit Fairness Act, which expands consumer protections against abusive debt collection by, as explained by NYDFS acting Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris, “address[ing] known predatory debt collection practices, barring an abusive common tactic engaged by predatory debt collectors which is to sue on time-barred consumer debts for which they lack even the most basic of documentation.” Certain parts of the Consumer Credit Fairness Act are effective immediately. S.4823/A.3359, effective 30 days after being signed into law, prohibits utility companies from engaging in harassment, oppression, or abuse when coordinating with a residential customer. According to the press release, this legislation responds “to various unscrupulous practices that utility corporations engage in, such as creating a ‘payment agreement’ with customers that encourage customers to take large down payments in exchange for utilities such as energy not being shut down.” S.1199/A.5838 requires the Public Service Commission to have at least one member who is an expert in consumer advocacy. It will also go into effect 30 days after being signed into law.

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