Both chambers of Congress have been working furiously the last 10 days or so on legislation to help the struggling American people–and the world economy–with the onset of the awful COVID 19 pandemic.
As I reported earlier this week, an early House legislative plan would have crippling effect on collectors–shutting them down entirely during the course of the pandemic.
The final Senate version–which has passed the upper chamber and is likely to be voted on in the House as early as tomorrow–lacks those provisions. (The Senate CARES act is 883 interesting pages long–yes, I read it–and if you want to poke your eyes out you can read it too! It is right here: Cares Final Text )
So good news for TCPAWorld dwellers– CARES contains no restrictions on phone calls, no restrictions on telemarketing (although there are lots of state restrictions so be careful) and no abatement of collection on consumer debt (although, again, watch out for state restrictions.) So while we all have a complicated web of restrictions to manage, at least there is nothing new imposed on callers at the federal level (at least not yet.)
CARES does contain a few interesting provisions impacting consumers, however. For instance foreclosure on federally-backed mortgages would be barred for 60 days, as would eviction of renters living in such homes. And there is some (quite limited) credit reporting protection (FCRAworld.com is coming–I promise!) mandating that furnishers report an account “current” during a timeframe that accommodation payments are being accepted (assuming the account was current before the accomodation.)
Overall the tax stuff in CARES looks to be the most fun–but I’m not tax guy so I won’t dive into that (although Squire Patton Boggs does have a huge team that can answer all of your questions on those topics–happy to connect you.)
So bottom line–if the Senate Coronavirus bill becomes the law it won’t have much impact on the TCPAWorld–which is definitely the best outcome we could have hoped for.
But CARES is NOT yet the law, remember, it has to pass both the Senate and the House before it becomes law. We’ll see if the Democrat-controlled House accepts this version or requires additional “consumer-friendly” provisions.
We’ll keep a close eye on this thing. More to come.