New York and California Aim to Provide Consumers with Additional Protections
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently introduced a number of new legislative proposals in his 2020 State of the State agenda, including proposals that would offer New York consumers increased protections. Additionally, California Governor Gavin C. Newsom also outlined how California will provide additional protections to its consumers in the Governor’s Budget Summary for 2020-2021. Below are some highlights from each state:
I. Regulating and Licensing Debt Collection Firms.
In Governor Cuomo’s 2020 New York State of the State agenda, legislation was proposed that would grant the Department of Financial Services (DFS) the power “to license debt collection entities, and empower DFS to examine and investigate suspected abuses, including by requiring the submission of information to DFS, and authorizing DFS investigators to enter a debt collector’s office at any time to review its books and records.” Consequently, DFS, with this new authority, would have the ability to initiate actions against debt collection organizations that could result in fines, or even the forfeiture of licenses that are required to conduct business in the state of New York. The proposed legislation would also protect individuals from fraudulent schemes in which they would pay non-existing debts. Governor Cuomo will also propose legislation that would authorize the state to “codify a Federal Trade Commission rule that prohibits confessions of judgement in consumer loans.”
II. Bolstering Consumer Protection Laws.
In Governor Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State Agenda, legislation was also proposed that would “mak[e] New York State consumer protection law consistent with federal law.” Currently, New York state authorities are unable to “bring the type of enforcement actions that federal authorities can bring for a broad range of unfair, deceptive, abusive acts and practices.” The proposed legislation would empower the state to oversee numerous consumer services and products by eradicating exemptions that are currently in play. Furthermore, the proposed legislation would eliminate loopholes and create an environment where regulated entities would all have the same chance to succeed.
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