• California Law To Require Debt Collectors To Notify Debtors of Rights Under California and Federal Law

    Effective July 1, 2004, California law will require third-party debt collectors subject to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to provide debtors with a notice describing their rights under the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the FDCPA. Cal. Civ. Code § 1812.700, enacted by 2003 Cal. S.B. 1022, § 1 (effective July 1, 2004). The notice must state the following:

    The state Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act require that, except under unusual circumstances, collectors may not contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They may not harass you by using threats of violence or arrest or by using obscene language. Collectors may not use false or misleading statements or call you at work if they know or have reason to know that you may not receive personal calls at work. For the most part, collectors may not tell another person, other than your attorney or spouse, about your debt. Collectors may contact another person to confirm your location or enforce a judgment. For more information about debt collection activities, you may contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or www.ftc.gov.

    The notice must be included with the first written notice initially addressed to a California address of a debtor in connection with collecting the debt. If a language other than English is principally used by the third-party debt collector in the initial oral contact with the debtor, a notice must be provided to the debtor in that language within five working days. The notice may be changed only as necessary to reflect changes under the FDCPA that would otherwise make the disclosure inaccurate. The type-size used in the disclosure must be in at least the same type-size as that used to inform the debtor of his or her specific debt, but is not required to be larger than 12-point type.

    Margaret Stolar and Chuck Gall