WASHINGTON D.C. – Tonight, the House passed Rep. Dean's Fair Debt Collection Practices for Servicemembers Act (H.R. 5003) by a vote of 355-0. This legislation will amend the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act to prohibit debt collectors from threatening our service members or their families.
“The Fair Debt Collection practices for Servicemembers Act will help ensure that members of our military and their families are not subject to the abusive and egregious practices used by debt collectors, Rep. Dean said. Protecting our soldiers is a top priority in the Financial Services Committee and passing this bill sends a clear signal that these abusive practices must end."
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB) servicemembers are subject to a variety of unfair debt collection practices:
• Contacting the soldier’s chain of command in order to extract payment;
• Including a clause in the loan contract that the service member must grant the debt collector the authority to contact the chain of command;
• Threatening punishment through the Uniform Code of Military Justice, threatening to have the service member's rank reduced, or threatening to have security clearances revoked.
Nearly 40 percent of complaints filed by servicemembers with the CFPB concern debt collection — as compared to only 26 percent by non-servicemembers.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.