WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 2547, The Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act.

“Throughout the pandemic, many consumers and small businesses have struggled to keep up with their bills through no fault of their own, while debt collectors have seen record profits. Recent reports found that almost 26 percent of Americans have an item in collections listed on their credit reports, and we know that abusive debt collection practices disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities.

“The Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act would provide important protections for small businesses, servicemembers, students, and other consumers against mistreatment and harassment by certain debt collectors. The bill would allow for higher damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for abuses by collections agencies engaging in unfair and deceptive practices and requires the agencies to obtain a consumer’s permission before using emails or text messages to collect on past due debt. Importantly, it would also prohibit collectors from threatening servicemembers with reductions in rank or revocation of security clearance.

“By enhancing consumers’ rights, increasing the accountability of debt collectors, and amending the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, H.R. 2547 will ensure debt collectors can no longer prey on consumers and small businesses. At a time when Americans and small business owners are struggling more than ever, we must protect them from egregious practices from debt collectors and update existing decades-old statutes to hold them accountable.”