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H.R. 254 (ih) To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide additional tax incentives for education. [Introduced in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2549

 To amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to prohibit creditors 
from taking action that is adverse to the interests of a consumer with 
respect to certain payments that are due in or shortly after the period 
    of a disruption of the mail resulting from a national emergency 
              declared under the National Emergencies Act.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 19, 2003

    Mr. Sherman (for himself, Mr. McHugh, Ms. Lee, Ms. Norton, Mr. 
 McGovern, and Mrs. Maloney) introduced the following bill; which was 
            referred to the Committee on Financial Services

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to prohibit creditors 
from taking action that is adverse to the interests of a consumer with 
respect to certain payments that are due in or shortly after the period 
    of a disruption of the mail resulting from a national emergency 
              declared under the National Emergencies Act.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Bill Payment Grace Period Act of 
2003''.

SEC. 2. EXTENSION OF PERIOD FOR MAKING CERTAIN PAYMENTS DUE TO A 
              NATIONAL EMERGENCY.

    (a) In General.--The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 
1692 et seq.) is amended by redesignating sections 813 through 818 in 
order as sections 814 through 819, and by inserting after section 812 
the following:
``Sec. 813. Extension of period for making certain payments due to 
              national emergency
    ``(a) The Secretary of the Treasury may designate a grace period 
under this section for the making of payments of debts by mail from or 
to any location within an area in which there occurs a disruption of 
the mail--
            ``(1) in the period of a national emergency declared under 
        the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.); and
            ``(2) as a result of the circumstances that resulted in 
        such declaration.
    ``(b) In designating a grace period under this section, the 
Secretary shall determine, in consultation with the Postmaster General, 
and specify--
            ``(1) the geographic area in which occurred the disruption 
        of the mail for which the grace period is designated; and
            ``(2) the period of time during which such disruption of 
        the mail occurred.
    ``(c) A grace period under this section--
            ``(1) shall be comprised of a period of consecutive days 
        designated by the Secretary;
            ``(2) shall begin upon the first day of the period of the 
        disruption of the mail for which it is designated, as such 
        period is specified under subsection (b)(2); and
            ``(3) except as provided in subsection (d), shall end not 
        later than 7 days after the end of such period of the 
        disruption of the mail.
    ``(d) The Secretary--
            ``(1) may designate a grace period under this section with 
        respect each disruption of the mail occurring in the same 
        national emergency period;
            ``(2) may extend the duration of a grace period under this 
        section by up to 7 days, by publishing notice of such extension 
        before the end of the grace period; and
            ``(3) may issue more than one extension under paragraph (2) 
        for the same grace period.
    ``(e) A creditor or debt collector shall not--
            ``(1) impose any late fee or additional financing fee in 
        connection with an affected mail payment by a consumer that is 
        received after its due date;
            ``(2) provide to a credit reporting agency (as that term is 
        defined in section 603) any information with respect to such 
        payment that is adverse to the interests of the consumer or 
        would adversely affect the credit standing of the consumer; or
            ``(3) take any other action that is adverse to the 
        interests of the consumer as a consequence of the failure of 
        the consumer to make such payment in a timely manner.
    ``(f) This section shall not apply to any payment by mail made by a 
consumer on a debt to a creditor if, before the disruption of the mail 
with respect to which a grace period is designated under this section--
            ``(1) the creditor or its debt collector gave the consumer, 
        by mail, telephone, or otherwise, notice regarding alternative 
        payment options that are available to such consumer without any 
        fee or other charge; and
            ``(2) the consumer, with or without fee or charge, agreed 
        to use an alternative payment option, or actually made one or 
        more payments using an alternative payment option, within the 
        6-month period preceding the due date of the payment made by 
        mail.
    ``(g) For the purposes of this section, evidence in the form of 
business records indicating that notice regarding alternative payment 
options was given before the date required by subsection (f) shall 
establish a conclusive presumption that such notice had been received 
by the consumer by such date.
    ``(h) In this section:
            ``(1) The term `affected mail payment' means any payment by 
        mail of the full amount due on a debt owed by a consumer--
                    ``(A) for which the due date occurs--
                            ``(i) in the period of a disruption of the 
                        mail with respect to which a grace period is 
                        designated under this section; or
                            ``(ii) within seven calendar days following 
                        the end of such disruption of the mail;
                    ``(B) that is sent from, or addressed to, a 
                location that is within the area in which the 
                disruption of the mail occurred, as such area is 
                specified under subsection (b)(1) for that grace 
                period;
                    ``(C) that is postmarked by not later than the 
                expiration of the grace period; and
                    ``(D) that is less than $10,000.
            ``(2) The term `alternative payment option' means any 
        electronic, Internet-based, telephone authorized, or other 
        means of making a payment other than by mail.
            ``(3) The term `due date' means the first date upon which a 
        creditor or its debt collector may impose a late fee or other 
        penalty for a failure of a consumer to make a periodic payment 
        that is due on a debt.
            ``(4) The term `disruption of the mail' means any 
        disruption in the pick-up, processing, transportation, or 
        delivery of the mail of the United States.''.
    (b) Conforming and Clerical Amendments.--The Fair Debt Collection 
Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) is further amended--
            (1) in the table of sections preceding section 801 by 
        striking the items relating to sections 813 through 818 and 
        inserting the following:

``813. Extension of period for making certain payments due to national 
                            emergency.
``814. Civil liability.
``815. Administrative enforcement.
``816. Reports to Congress by the Commission.
``817. Relation to State laws.
``818. Exemption for State regulation.
``819. Effective date.'';
            (2) in section 812(b) by striking ``section 813'' and 
        inserting ``section 814''; and
            (3) in section 816 (as redesignated by this Act) by 
        striking ``section 814'' each place it appears and inserting 
        ``section 815''.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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