Consumer Affairs Committee Announces Credit Reform Package

Albany, NY – Today, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D, WF-Fresh Meadows), Chair of the Assembly’s Consumer Protection Committee announced a legislative package intended to reform and enhance consumer credit protections in New York. The package includes A779 (Dinowitz), A1309 (L. Rosenthal), A1480 (Carroll), A2672 (Paulin), A4717 (Epstein), and A5367 (Lucas).

“The credit score system has a long way to go before it works for consumers rather than against them,” said Assemblywoman Rozic, Chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee. “This legislative package is a step toward ensuring New Yorkers are equipped with the information and protections necessary. In New York we know that poor credit reflects a broken financial system, not a judgment on the consumer.”

The package of bills includes:

A779 (Dinowitz) prohibits employers or potential employers from using a job applicant or employee's consumer credit report in his or her decision to hire, terminate, promote, demote, discipline, compensate, or in setting the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

A1309 (L. Rosenthal) protects survivors of domestic violence and others who have become victims of economic abuse by providing them with a right of action in the face of coerced debt.

A1480 (Carroll) ensures that the credit scores of consumers are not unnecessarily punished due to excessive and egregious fines and other issues presented by cashless tolling systems.

A2672 (Paulin) clarifies that sellers who impose a surcharge on customers who pay by credit card must clearly post the credit card price, inclusive of the surcharge, and as long as the final sales price does not amount to a price that is higher than the posted price.

A4717 (Epstein) requires that consumer reporting agencies contact consumers when an inquiry is made into their consumer reports to better provide control and awareness to consumers regarding their reports.

A5367 (Lucas) requires the Department of State and Public Service Commission to study and make recommendations regarding the practice of utility, cable, and telephone service providers reporting customer payment information to consumer reporting agencies.

“Large employers’ use of credit checks as part of their hiring process is an unfair burden to place upon a person who has applied for a position with that employer. There is little to no evidence that shows a correlation between credit history and job performance, therefore, this practice frequently unfairly thwarts individuals who seek gainful employment. Countless New Yorkers have errors in their credit reports that put them in a lower credit risk tier which are unrelated to their job performance or capabilities. This puts not only prospective employees at a disadvantage but harms existing employees who have their credit history utilized against them by an employer, said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. “This legislation would put an end to this practice, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to putting an end to this practice.”

”Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse; in fact survivors are often exposed to severe economic abuse, not realizing the extent until they've escaped,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “After courageously fleeing an abusive relationship, survivors often find their credit destroyed, because their abuser has used their credit cards, made purchases and taken out loans in their name. Survivors cannot rebuild their lives while facing mountains of coerced debt. My bill will provide them the opportunity to move forward. A hit to one's credit rating can have a long-lasting impact and I applaud the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee for advancing this package of bills.”

“I am pleased to see my bill A1480 pass the Consumer Affairs Committee today.New Yorkers shouldn’t see their credit and their lives ruined by confusing billing practices and opaque fees and fines or just because they were late in paying for a toll,” said Assemblymember Robert Carroll. “Thanks to Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Nily Rozic for her partnership in moving this bill forward.”

“Credit card surcharges should be disclosed clearly and concisely so that customers are fully aware and informed,” said Assemblywoman Amy Paulin. “We should not have instances where a lower price is posted and the customer only sees a surcharge when they go to pay. Transparency is key and people should know what they are going to be paying at the outset. The NYS Court of Appeals has also ruled that credit card surcharges must be transparent. I thank Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Chair, Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection for her support of this bill and protecting New Yorkers from hidden surcharges.”

“While the proliferation of online banking has created convenience for millions, unfortunately data breaches have ensued and threatened the safety of consumers’ personal information. By ensuring consumers are notified about inquiries made into their consumer reports, we help them to be proactive in safeguarding their information if they notice what appears to be unauthorized activity,” said Assemblymember Harvey Epstein. “I want to thank the Chair for her partnership in protecting New Yorkers from fraud and other illegal activity.”

This package passed the Consumer Protection Committee today.