The Business Council strongly opposes this legislation, S.1835 (Gianaris) / A.1119 (Simotas), which would duplicate existing state and county enforcement authority, including criminal actions, in response to violations of the General Business Law’s already very prescriptive sections on debt collection.
We believe that existing law, Article 29-H of New York’s General Business Law, is adequate and appropriate as it addresses debt collecting and gives enforcement authority to the State's Attorney General and county District Attorneys. It allows for injunctive relief, civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and allows such actions to be subject to misdemeanor criminal prosecution.
The need for this legislation is questionable at best. It implies that both the Attorney General and District Attorneys throughout the state are either unwilling or unable to bring enforcement actions against entities alleged to have been engaged in illegal debt collection practices. We do not believe either to be true.
This bill simply creates another citizen suit provision, allowing individuals to act in addition to, instead of, or contrary to, state or local enforcement, while enriching enterprising attorneys. The creation of yet another private right of action, in addition to already existing significant civil and criminal penalties, is another departure from reasonable, responsible governance, in favor of an entrepreneurial judicial system.
We see no need for multiple levels of enforcement for this enforcement, and believe the Attorney General and District Attorneys already have sufficient statutory authority to address alleged incidents of violation.