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Division of Consumer Affairs
Press Release

Attorney General
Anne Milgram
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
David Szuchman
   
For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2009
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
 
Consumer Affair Director Testifies in Support
of Legislation to Regulate Debt Collectors

NEWARK - Consumer Affairs Director David Szuchman today appeared before the State Assembly's Consumer Affairs Committee and testified in support of proposed legislation that would give the Division oversight of the debt collection industry.

The Committee voted to report A2493, “The New Jersey Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” out to the full Assembly for its consideration.

“The Division received 787 consumer complaints related to debt collection last year, our second largest category of complaints,” Szuchman said. “Currently, we lack the proper tools to handle these complaints and most are forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission. We've been seeking this legislation because the need, as shown by the volume of complaints, exists.”

Szuchman noted the existing federal law contemplates that states will enact their own laws to provide consumers with greater protection, as A2493 would do. A2493 also establishes standardized procedures for the industry.

“Creditors have to have the ability to enforce and collect debts or they will be reluctant to provide credit. Credit is a vital feature of our economy,” Szuchman said. “This bill will place reasonable boundaries on the kinds of activities that debt collectors can employ but it does not void consumers' obligations to pay their debts.”

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