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AB-1723 Debt collection.(2015-2016)

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AB1723:v93#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1723
CHAPTER 376

An act to amend Sections 1785.16.2 and 1788.18 of the Civil Code, relating to debt collection.

[ Approved by Governor  September 16, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State  September 16, 2016. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1723, Dodd. Debt collection.
Existing law requires a debt collector that receives a copy of a police report filed by the debtor alleging that the debtor is the victim of an identity theft crime and a written statement in which the debtor claims to be the victim of identity theft to cease collection activities until completion of a review. Existing law requires the debt collector to review and consider all of the information provided by the debtor and other available information and authorizes the debt collector to recommence debt collection activities only upon making a good faith determination that the information does not establish that the debtor is not responsible for the specific debt in question.
This bill, the Identity Theft Resolution Act, would require the debt collector, upon receipt of the police report and written statement described above, if it furnished adverse information about the debtor to a consumer credit reporting agency, to notify the consumer credit reporting agency that the account is disputed, and initiate a review, as specified, within 10 business days. The bill would require the debt collector to send notice of its determination to the debtor no later than 10 business days after concluding the review. The bill would require a debt collector that does not recommence collection activities under these provisions to notify the creditor, no later than 10 business days after making its determination, and if it furnished adverse information to a consumer credit reporting agency, to notify the agency to delete that information no later than 10 business days after making its determination. The bill would also prohibit a creditor from selling a consumer debt to a debt collector if the creditor has received notice that the debt collector has terminated debt collection activities, as described above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Identity Theft Resolution Act.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1785.16.2 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1785.16.2.
 (a) No creditor may sell a consumer debt to a debt collector, as defined in 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692a, if the consumer is a victim of identity theft, as defined in Section 1798.2, and with respect to that debt, the creditor has received notice pursuant to subdivision (k) of Section 1785.16 or paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 1788.18.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a creditor’s sale of a debt to a subsidiary or affiliate of the creditor, if, with respect to that debt, the subsidiary or affiliate does not take any action to collect the debt.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the requirement in 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692a, that a person must use an instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in the collection of any debt to be considered a debt collector, does not apply.

SEC. 3.

 Section 1788.18 of the Civil Code is amended to read:

1788.18.
 (a) Upon receipt from a debtor of all of the following, a debt collector shall cease collection activities until completion of the review provided in subdivision (d):
(1) A copy of a police report filed by the debtor alleging that the debtor is the victim of an identity theft crime, including, but not limited to, a violation of Section 530.5 of the Penal Code, for the specific debt being collected by the debt collector.
(2) The debtor’s written statement that the debtor claims to be the victim of identity theft with respect to the specific debt being collected by the debt collector.
(b) The written statement described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall consist of any of the following:
(1) A Federal Trade Commission’s Affidavit of Identity Theft.
(2) A written statement that contains the content of the Identity Theft Victim’s Fraudulent Account Information Request offered to the public by the California Office of Privacy Protection.
(3) A written statement that certifies that the representations are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of fact to the best knowledge and belief of the person submitting the certification. A person submitting the certification who declares as true any material matter pursuant to this subdivision that he or she knows to be false is guilty of a misdemeanor. The statement shall contain or be accompanied by the following, to the extent that an item listed below is relevant to the debtor’s allegation of identity theft with respect to the debt in question:
(A) A statement that the debtor is a victim of identity theft.
(B) A copy of the debtor’s driver’s license or identification card, as issued by the state.
(C) Any other identification document that supports the statement of identity theft.
(D) Specific facts supporting the claim of identity theft, if available.
(E) Any explanation showing that the debtor did not incur the debt.
(F) Any available correspondence disputing the debt after transaction information has been provided to the debtor.
(G) Documentation of the residence of the debtor at the time of the alleged debt. This may include copies of bills and statements, such as utility bills, tax statements, or other statements from businesses sent to the debtor, showing that the debtor lived at another residence at the time the debt was incurred.
(H) A telephone number for contacting the debtor concerning any additional information or questions, or direction that further communications to the debtor be in writing only, with the mailing address specified in the statement.
(I) To the extent the debtor has information concerning who may have incurred the debt, the identification of any person whom the debtor believes is responsible.
(J) An express statement that the debtor did not authorize the use of the debtor’s name or personal information for incurring the debt.
(K) The certification required pursuant to this paragraph shall be sufficient if it is in substantially the following form:
“I certify the representations made are true, correct, and
contain no material omissions of fact.
_____ (Date and Place) _____ _____ (Signature) _____ ”
(c) If a debtor notifies a debt collector orally that he or she is a victim of identity theft, the debt collector shall notify the debtor, orally or in writing, that the debtor’s claim must be in writing. If a debtor notifies a debt collector in writing that he or she is a victim of identity theft, but omits information required pursuant to subdivision (a) or, if applicable, the certification required pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), if the debt collector does not cease collection activities, the debt collector shall provide written notice to the debtor of the additional information that is required, or the certification required pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), as applicable, or send the debtor a copy of the Federal Trade Commission’s Affidavit of Identity Theft form.
(d) Within 10 business days of receiving the complete statement and information described in subdivision (a), the debt collector shall, if it furnished adverse information about the debtor to a consumer credit reporting agency, notify the consumer credit reporting agency that the account is disputed, and initiate a review considering all of the information provided by the debtor and other information available to the debt collector in its file or from the creditor. The debt collector shall send notice of its determination to the debtor no later than 10 business days after concluding the review. The debt collector may recommence debt collection activities only upon making a good faith determination that the information does not establish that the debtor is not responsible for the specific debt in question. The debt collector’s determination shall be made in a manner consistent with the provisions of subsection (1) of Section 1692 of Title 15 of the United States Code, as incorporated by Section 1788.17 of this code. The debt collector shall notify the debtor in writing of that determination and the basis for that determination before proceeding with any further collection activities. The debt collector’s determination shall be based on all of the information provided by the debtor and other information available to the debt collector in its file or from the creditor.
(e) No inference or presumption that the debt is valid or invalid, or that the debtor is liable or not liable for the debt, shall arise if the debt collector decides after the review described in subdivision (d) to cease or recommence the debt collection activities. The exercise or nonexercise of rights under this section is not a waiver of any other right or defense of the debtor or debt collector.
(f) The statement and supporting documents that comply with subdivision (a) may also satisfy, to the extent those documents meet the requirements of, the notice requirement of paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of Section 1798.93.
(g) A debt collector who ceases collection activities under this section and does not recommence those collection activities shall do all of the following:
(1) If the debt collector has furnished adverse information to a consumer credit reporting agency, notify the agency to delete that information no later than 10 business days after making its determination.
(2) Notify the creditor no later than 10 business days after making its determination that debt collection activities have been terminated based upon the debtor’s claim of identity theft.
(h) A debt collector who has possession of documents that the debtor is entitled to request from a creditor pursuant to Section 530.8 of the Penal Code is authorized to provide those documents to the debtor.
(i) Notwithstanding subdivision (h) of Section 1788.2, for the purposes of this section, “debtor” means a natural person, firm, association, organization, partnership, business trust, company, corporation, or limited liability company from which a debt collector seeks to collect a debt that is due and owing or alleged to be due and owing from the person or entity. The remedies provided by this title shall apply equally to violations of this section.