Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tea Party senators endorse bill allowing deceptive debt collection practices

Will expose Arizona consumers to scams

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Tea Party members of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee yesterday voted to approve a bill that would allow known deceptive debt collectors to prey on Arizona consumers. After HB2664 initially failed to pass the Senate committee, supporters apparently convinced Republican senators into re-voting to pass the bill.

This bill would make it easier for debt collectors like Midland Funding, LLC of Delaware and its sister corporation, Midland Credit Management of Kansas to take advantage of Arizonans. Midland has already filed thousands of cases against Arizona consumers in Arizona courts.

West Virginia’s attorney general filed suit just last week against Midland “for using false affidavits when obtaining default judgments against West Virginia consumers and for failing to include information required by law when suing a consumer in magistrate or circuit court for an alleged debt.”

The lobbying of senators was carried out by Richard Reed, who claimed to represent the Arizona Creditor Bar Association, although he is not a registered lobbyist.

A complaint against Mr. Reed has been filed with the Secretary of State’s Office by Representative Debbie McCune Davis. In her complaint Rep. McCune Davis claims that Mr. Reed testified in support of HB2664 before the House Banking and Insurance Committee as a representative of the Arizona Creditors Bar Association and that he materially misrepresented the provisions in the bill.

Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee member:
“This special interest bill is irresponsible because it would legalize deceptive debt collection scams against hard-working Arizonans. Adding to that offense is the behavior we witnessed in yesterday’s committee hearing by supporters of this bill and the capitulation of Republican senators,” said Sen. Schapira. “I don’t know if some deal was made to pass this bill, but I can guarantee it’s no deal for Arizona consumers.”

Sen. Robert Meza, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Member:
“As elected officials we are supposed to be the voice of Arizonans, representing and protecting their interests,” said Sen. Meza. “It’s painfully clear that Arizona’s Republican senators are not listening to their constituents.”

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