Could Penalties for Violations of The West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act be Capped at $1,000?
The West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act is designed, in part, to protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices. Under the original version of the Act, trial courts had a wide monetary range upon which it may impose civil penalties against a debt collector who violated that Act. Within the last three years, changes have been made to the Act to limit the discretion and amount of civil penalties that may be awarded against a debt collector in violation of the Act. This year, a bill is pending seeking to limit the penalties further.
House Bill 2768, introduced January 10, 2018 by Delegate Allen V. Evans (R – Grant, 54th District), seeks to further limit the amount of civil penalties that may be awarded against a debt collector to a “hard cap” of $1,000. The current Act allows penalties of $1,000 per violation, provided that the aggregate amount of the penalties not exceed the greater of $175,000 or the total alleged outstanding indebtedness. Additionally, under HB 2768, class action recovery would be limited to the lesser of $500,000 or one percent of the net worth of the debt collector. Finally, HB 2768 seeks to reduce the statute of limitation period from four years to two years.
The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee. To read and track the bill, more information may be found at http://www.wvlegislature.gov/Bill_Status/Bills_history.cfm?input=2768&year=2018&sessiontype=RS&btype=bill