New York Governor Signs Law Requiring Initial New Disclosure of Communications; Effective November 7, 2021
As of November 7, 2021, debt collectors will be required to provide a new disclosure on initial claims sent to New York consumers. The new disclosure allows consumers to request communications in alternate formats.
On October 8, 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochel enacted Senate Bill S737A (S737A). According to S737A, by November 7, 2021, debt collectors must “clearly and conspicuously disclose” in the initial communication that the consumer can request communications in an alternate format such as large print, braille or an audio CD . In addition, the debt collector must include a phone number that the consumer can call to make the request. However, debt collectors who provide reasonable accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be deemed not to have violated SB737.
A violation of SB737 is a misdemeanor, and the first violation will result in a civil penalty of up to $ 250.00. All subsequent infractions will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $ 500.00. Each offense is considered a separate offense.
Considering that Reg F goes into effect in less than 50 days, debt collectors may be frustrated with another change requiring a compliance review, policy change, and letter update. That said, perhaps the safe harbor for debt collectors providing reasonable accommodation in accordance with the ADA will ease the burden. Debt collectors in New York State should consult with their attorney to determine the best course of action.