Debt collectors attempting to collect consumer debts in the state must comply with a newly enacted state debt collection practices law in addition to federal law, including registering with the cialis and bph Department of Business Regulation. The Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act defines deceptive acts relating to the collection of debts from consumers within the state and establishes requirements for the identity and supervision of debt collectors. The law begins at Rhode Island ¶6481 (ip access user). Changes to the state’s financial institutions law governing licensed activities establishes licensing and education requirements for loan originators. Beginning March 1, 2008, loan originators will be required to register with the Department of Business Regulation and obtain a license by Jan. 1, 2009. The law begins at Rhode Island ¶6501 (ip access user). CHAPTER 19-14.9
Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act SECTION 19-14.9-1 § 19-14.9-1 Short Title. – This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act”. § 19-14.9-2 Purpose. – The purpose of this chapter is to establish standards, by defining unfair or deceptive acts or practices, for the collection of debts from consumers within the state of Rhode Island, and to establish requirements for the registering and supervision of debt collectors.
§ 19-14.9-3 Definitions. – For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meaning unless the context otherwise requires:
“Consumer” means any person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt, as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a.
“Consumer Reporting Agency” means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the better business bureau global pharmacy canada purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.
“Creditor” means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but the term shall not include a person to the extent that he/she receives an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of the debt.
“Debt” means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not the obligation has been reduced to judgment.
“Debt collector” means any person who uses an instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. Notwithstanding the exclusion provided by clause (f) below, debt collector shall include a creditor who, in the process of collecting his/her own debt, uses any name other than his/her own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect the debt. Debt collector shall also include a person who uses an instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in a business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests. Debt collector shall not include:
An officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for the creditor;
A person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for a person to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of the person is not the collection of a debt;
An officer or employee of the United States or a state of the United States to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect a debt is in the performance of his/her official duty;
A person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on another person in connection with the judicial enforcement of a debt;
A nonprofit organization which, at the request of a consumer, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists the consumer in the liquidation of debts by receiving payments from the consumer and distributing the amounts to creditors;
A person collecting or attempting to collect a debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent the activity:
Is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement, or;
Concerns a debt which was originated by the person;
Concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by the person or in connection with a debt secured by a mortgage, when first serviced by the person;
Concerns a debt obtained by the person as a secured party blue pill viagra in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor;
(g) Attorneys-at-law collecting a debt on behalf of a client.
(h) An agent or independent contractor employed for the purpose of collecting a charge or bill owed by a tenant to a landlord or owed by a customer to a corporation subject to the supervision of the department of business regulation insofar as the person collects charges or bills only for the landlord or supervised corporations.
“Department” means the department of business regulation. “Director” means the director of the department of business regulation or the director’s designee. “Obligor” means an individual or company that owes the debt created by the issuing of a bond required under § 19-14.9-13. “Registrant” means an entity registered under this chapter. § 19-14.9-4 Acquisition of location information. – Any debt collector communicating with any person, other than the consumer, for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall:
(a) Identify himself/herself, state that he/she is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify his/her employer;
(b) Not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(c) Not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;
(d) Not communicate by post card;
(e) Not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt; and
(f) After the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to communication from the debt collector.
19-14.9-5 Communication in connection with debt collection. –
(1) Without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt:
(a) At any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. In the absence of knowledge of circumstances to the contrary, a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o’clock A.M. and before 9 o’clock P.M. local time at the consumer’s location;
(b) If the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to a communication from the debt collector or unless the attorney consents to direct communication with the consumer; or
(c) At the consumer’s place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer’s employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication;
(2) Except as provided in § 19-14.9-4, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his/her attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
(3) If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except:
(a) To advise the consumer that the debt collector’s further efforts are being terminated;
(b) To notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or
(c) Where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy. If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification shall be complete upon receipt.
(4) For the purpose of this section, the term “consumer” shall also include the consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a minor), guardian, executor, or administrator.
§ 19-14.9-6 Harassment or abuse. – A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Such conduct shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Using or threatening to use violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person;
(b) Using obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader;
(c) Advertising for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt;
(d) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number;
(e) Except as provided in § 19-14.9-4, placing telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
§ 19-14.9-7 False or misleading representations. – A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Such false or misleading means shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) The false representation or implication that the debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof;
(b) The false representation of:
(1) The character, amount, or legal status of any debt;
(2) Any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of a debt;
(c) The false representation or implication that any individual is an attorney or that any communication is from an attorney;
(d) The representation or implication that nonpayment of any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action;
(e) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken;
f) The false representation or implication that a sale, referral, or other transfer of any interest in a debt shall cause the consumer to:
(1) Lose any claim or defense to payment of the debt;
(2) Become subject to any practice prohibited by this chapter;
(g) The false representation or implication that the consumer committed any crime or other conduct in order to disgrace the consumer;
(h) The communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed;
(i) The use of distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court, official, or agency of the United States or any State, or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval;
(j) The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer;
(k) The failure to disclose in the initial written communication with the consumer and, in addition, if the initial communication with the consumer is oral, in that initial oral communication, that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and that any information obtained will be used for that purpose, and the failure to disclose in subsequent communications that the communication is from a debt collector, except that this paragraph shall not apply to a formal pleading made in connection with a legal action;
(l) The false representation or implication that accounts have been turned over to innocent purchasers for value;
(m) The false representation or implication that documents are legal process;
(n) The use of any business, company, or organization name other than the true name of the debt collector’s business, company, or organization;
(o) The false representation or implication that documents are not legal process forms or do not require action by the consumer;
(p) Communicating by telephone without disclosure of the name of the debt collector and without disclosure of the personal name of the individual making such communication; provided, however, that any such individual utilizing an alias shall use only one such alias at all times and provided that a mechanism is established by the debt collector to identify the person using such alias; the debt collector shall submit a list of all such aliases and the persons using same to the director;
(q) The false representation or implication that a debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer reporting agency.
§ 19-14.9-8 Unfair practices. – A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt. Such unfair or unconscionable means shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Collecting any amount (including any interest, fee, charge, or expense incidental to the principal obligation) unless such amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law;
(b) Publishing or causing to be published, for general circulation, the name of a consumer or any lists of consumers, or threatening to do so;
(c) Requesting or demanding from a consumer a postdated check, draft, order for withdrawal or other similar instrument in payment for the debt or any portion thereof, or negotiating such instrument before the due date of the instrument;
(d) Depositing or threatening to deposit any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument prior to the date on such check or instrument;
(e) Causing charges to be made to any person for communications by concealment of the true purpose of the communication. Such charges include, but are not limited to, collect telephone calls and fees. However, this section shall not prohibit a debt collector from communicating with a consumer by way of a consumer’s wireless telephone;
(f) Taking or threatening to take any non judicial action to effect dispossession or disablement of property if:
(1) There is no present right to possession of the property claimed as collateral through an enforceable security interest;
(2) There is no present intention to take possession of the property;
(3) The property is exempt by law from such dispossession or disablement;
(g) Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card;
(h) Using any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by use of the mails or by telegram, except that a debt collector may use his/her business name if such name does not indicate that he/she is in the debt collection business;
(i) Representing that an existing obligation of a consumer may be increased by the addition of attorney’s fees, investigation fees, service fees, or any other fees or charges, if in fact such fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing obligation;
(j) Soliciting or obtaining of any written statement or acknowledgment in any form containing an affirmation of any obligation by a consumer who has been adjudicated bankrupt, without clearly and conspicuously disclosing the nature and consequences of such affirmation;
(k) Reporting to a consumer reporting agency on its transactions or experiences with a consumer in the debt collector’s name. However, a debt collector may, with the express written authorization of the creditor, report to a consumer reporting agency in the creditor’s name.
§ 19-14.9-9 Validation of debts. –
(1) Within five (5) days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication, or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing:
(a) The amount of the debt;
(b) The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(c) A statement that unless the consumer, within thirty (30) days after receipt of the notice, disputes that validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
(d) A statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty (30) day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
(e) A statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty (30) day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer pbec pharmacy canada with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
(2) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty (30) day period described in paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of this section that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
(3) The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section shall not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.
§ 19-14.9-10 Multiple debts. – If any consumer owes multiple debts and makes any single payment to any debt collector with respect to such debts, such debt collector may not apply such payment to any debt which is disputed by the consumer and, where applicable, shall apply such payment in accordance with the consumer’s directions.
§ 19-14.9-11 Furnishing certain deceptive forms. – It is unlawful to design, compile, and furnish any form knowing that such form would be used to create the false belief in a consumer that a person other than the creditor of such consumer is participating in the collection of or in an attempt to collect a debt such consumer allegedly owes such creditor, when in fact such person is not so participating.
§ 19-14.9-13 Remedies and penalties. –
(1) Any person who engages in the business of a debt collector without a registration as required by § 19-14.9-12 of this chapter, shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
(2) Any debt collector who fails to comply with the provisions of §§ 19-14.9-4 – 19-14.9-11 of this chapter with respect to a consumer may be subject to revocation of registration and shall be civilly liable to such consumer in an amount equal to the sum of:
(a) Any actual damages sustained by such consumer as a result of such failure;
(b) In the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000);
(c) In the case of a class action:
(1) Such amount for each named plaintiff as could be recovered under paragraph (b) of this subsection;
(2) Such amount as the court may allow for all other class members, without regard to a minimum individual recovery, not to exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or one percent of the net worth of the debt collector, whichever is the lesser;
(d) In the case of any successful action to enforce such liability, the costs of the action, together with such reasonable attorney fees as may be determined by the court.
(3) In determining the amount of liability in any action under paragraph (2), the court shall consider, among other relevant factors:
(a) In any individual action under paragraph (b), the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector or, the nature of such noncompliance, and the extent to which such noncompliance was intentional;
(b) In any class action under paragraph (c), the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector, the nature of such noncompliance, the resources of the debt collector, the number of persons adversely affected, and the extent to which the debt collector’s noncompliance was intentional.
(4) A debt collector may not be held liable in any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this chapter if:
(a) The debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional or negligent and which violation resulted from a bona fide error, notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error; or
(b) Within fifteen (15) days, either after discovering a violation which is able to be cured, or after the receipt of a written notice of such violation, the debt collector notifies the consumer of the violation, and makes whatever adjustments or corrections are necessary to cure the violation with respect to the consumer.
(5) An action to enforce any liability created by the provisions of this article may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.
(6) The policy of this state is not to award double damages under this article and the federal “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” (15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq). No damages under this section shall be recovered if damages are recovered for a like provision of said federal act.
§ 19-14.9-14 Severability. – If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the chapter are severable.