Title 19
Financial Institutions

Chapter 14.9
Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 19-14.9-3

§ 19-14.9-3. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meaning unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Consumer” means any person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt, as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a.

(2) “Consumer reporting agency” means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages in whole or in part in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties.

(3) “Creditor” means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but the term shall not include a person to the extent that he/she receives an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of the debt.

(4) “Debt” means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services that are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not the obligation has been reduced to judgment.

(5) “Debt collector” means any person who uses an instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. Notwithstanding the exclusion provided by clause (f) below, debt collector shall include a creditor who, in the process of collecting his/her own debt, uses any name other than his/her own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect the debt. Debt collector shall also include a person who uses an instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in a business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests. Debt collector shall not include:

(a) An officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for the creditor;

(b) A person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for a person to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of the person is not the collection of a debt;

(c) An officer or employee of the United States or a state of the United States to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect a debt is in the performance of his/her official duty;

(d) A person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on another person in connection with the judicial enforcement of a debt;

(e) A nonprofit organization that, at the request of a consumer, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists the consumer in the liquidation of debts by receiving payments from the consumer and distributing the amounts to creditors;

(f) A person collecting or attempting to collect a debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent the activity:

(i) Is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement;

(ii) Concerns a debt that was originated by the person;

(iii) Concerns a debt that was not in default at the time it was obtained by the person or in connection with a debt secured by a mortgage, when first serviced by the person; or

(iv) Concerns a debt obtained by the person as a secured party in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor;

(g) Attorneys-at-law collecting a debt on behalf of a client;

(h) An agent or independent contractor employed for the purpose of collecting a charge or bill owed by a tenant to a landlord or owed by a customer to a corporation subject to the supervision of the department of business regulation insofar as the person collects charges or bills only for the landlord or supervised corporations.

(6) “Department” means the department of business regulation.

(7) “Director” means the director of the department of business regulation, or the director’s designee.

(8) “Registrant” means an entity registered under this chapter.

History of Section.
P.L. 2007, ch. 427, § 1; P.L. 2023, ch. 395, art. 2, § 6, effective June 27, 2023.