Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has proposed legislation aimed at preventing some of the most common complaints from residents in the state, including debt collection and consumer fraud.
Zoeller wants changes that would require debt collectors to have more communication with consumers, specifically identifying themselves as a debt collector and, if applicable, disclosing from whom the debt was purchased. Zoeller believes it would help with problems involving companies who buy debt from other collection agencies.
Zoeller's office received 787 debt collection-related complaints in 2013.
The proposed legislation is designed to build upon the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to include additional state protections, including requiring debt collectors to disclose the details of the debt upon the initial communication with a consumer. A debt collection agency under the FDCPA has the option to provide the details of the debt in a written notice within five days after the initial communication with a consumer.
Zoeller has said his office has been overwhelmed with complaints about fraud, scams and collections and is thus trying to install proactive measures.
In 2013, there were more than 900 complaints involving home repair and construction fraud. Zoeller wants his office to administer a voluntary registration system for home improvement contractors. The public registry would require contractors to post a performance bond to cover customers. The legislations other area of focus is seeking stiffer penalties for those who prey on veterans and the disabled. Zoeller said its similar to the Senior Consumer Protection Act legislation from 2013.
Zoeller said the Attorney Generals Office is already working to make legislators aware of the proposals. The consumer protection proposals will be considered by the Indiana General Assembly during the 2015 legislative session in January.