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NY Debt Collector Communications Must Include Formats for Visual Impaired

On Oct 8, the governor of New York signed Invoice No. AO-2260A to aid borrowers who have to have accommodation for visual impairments. Monthly bill No. AO-2260A is “an act to amend the standard small business legislation, in relation to demanding debt collectors to inform debtors that composed communications are offered in big print format” (or other unique formats). In brief, this legislation will involve “principal creditors” and “debt collectors” to inform a purchaser in their “initial communication” that the customer may perhaps request long run communications in a “reasonably accommodatable format” this kind of as substantial print, braille, audio compact disc, or other possibilities. This legislation gets to be effective November 7, 2021.

The new regulation will amend New York’s Financial debt Selection Techniques Act, N.Y. Gen. Bus. Regulation § 600. Specially, the amendment provides § 601-b, which gives:

Each and every and every principal creditor or financial debt collector shall, in each individual original conversation, evidently and conspicuously disclose to the debtor that each and every interaction can be presented in an choice, fairly accommodatable, structure. These disclosure shall substantively include the adhering to:

(a) A assertion that the purchaser may perhaps ask for the letter in an choice, fairly accommodatable structure picked by the principal creditor or debt collector these types of as large print, braille, audio compact disc, or other signifies and

(b) A business enterprise phone number that the consumer may well call to make such a request.

The amendment presents that “a principal creditor or financial debt collector offering acceptable lodging in compliance with the Us citizens with Disabilities Act of 1990 shall not be considered to have violated” the new law.

We take note that the bill states that the creditor or debt collector, not the client, can elect which alternative format will be created available. We imagine potential disputes from people who are blind if the only alternative format out there to them is significant print.

Moreover, the amendment provides a number of vital definitions, such as “communication,” “debt,” and “debt collector.” The definitions of “communication” and “debt” mirror those people located beneath the FDCPA, but the definition of “debt collector” a little differs. The recent version of the act presently defines “principal creditor,” which is the proprietor of a “consumer claim,” and “consumer claim,” which is an obligation “alleged to be in default and which arises out of a transaction” with a pure individual and “was mainly for own, family or house reasons.”

Lastly, New York amended the “Violations and Penalties” segment of the existing regulation to explain that any person who violates § 601’s current prohibited techniques or the new significant-print recognize necessity is responsible of a misdemeanor. The new law also supplies that a violation by any person of § 601-a is subject matter to financial penalties – a to start with offense is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed $250 and any subsequent offense is punishable by a penalty of $500. Part 601-a is element of the present law, which prohibits principal lenders and credit card debt collectors from generating “any representation that a man or woman is needed to shell out the credit card debt of a household member in a way that contravenes with the Good Financial debt Assortment Tactics Act” or from building “any misrepresentation about the household member’s obligation to shell out these debts.”


With such a quick window just before compliance with the alternate detect necessity is established to start, all those with compliance obligations beneath the regulation ought to act rapidly to employ a prepare to deliver the demanded notices. Also, as part of the prepare, it is crucial to fully comprehend what choices you can make accessible to individuals – huge print, braille, audio, or other implies – and the probable hazards connected with just about every of those people lodging. At last, the civil penalty portion seems to reference a confined portion of the existing legislation as a substitute of the new portion pertaining to the option notices, but this appears to be incongruent with the legislative background on the legislation. Ideally, people impacted by the legislation will receive extra steerage as it relates to the civil penalty section.

© 2021 Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Nationwide Regulation Critique, Quantity XI, Amount 305