Title 19
Financial Institutions

Chapter 14.9
Rhode Island Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 19-14.9-13

§ 19-14.9-13. Remedies and penalties.

(1) Any person who engages in the business of a debt collector without a registration as required by § 19-14.9-12, shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(2) Any debt collector who fails to comply with the provisions of §§ 19-14.9-4 — 19-14.9-11 with respect to a consumer may be subject to revocation of registration and shall be civilly liable to such consumer in an amount equal to the sum of:

(a) Any actual damages sustained by such consumer as a result of such failure;

(b) In the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000);

(c) In the case of a class action:

(1) Such amount for each named plaintiff as could be recovered under subsection (2)(b);

(2) Such amount as the court may allow for all other class members, without regard to a minimum individual recovery, not to exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or one percent of the net worth of the debt collector, whichever is the lesser;

(d) In the case of any successful action to enforce such liability, the costs of the action, together with such reasonable attorney fees as may be determined by the court.

(3) In determining the amount of liability in any action under subsection (2), the court shall consider, among other relevant factors:

(a) In any individual action under subsection (2)(b), the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector or the nature of such noncompliance, and the extent to which such noncompliance was intentional;

(b) In any class action under subsection (2)(c), the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector; the nature of such noncompliance; the resources of the debt collector; the number of persons adversely affected; and the extent to which the debt collector’s noncompliance was intentional.

(4) A debt collector may not be held liable in any action brought pursuant to the provisions of this chapter if:

(a) The debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional or negligent and the violation resulted from a bona fide error, notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error; or

(b) Within fifteen (15) days, either after discovering a violation that is able to be cured, or after the receipt of a written notice of such violation, the debt collector notifies the consumer of the violation, and makes whatever adjustments or corrections are necessary to cure the violation with respect to the consumer.

(5) An action to enforce any liability created by the provisions of this article may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.

(6) The policy of this state is not to award double damages under this article and the federal “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act” (15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.). No damages under this section shall be recovered if damages are recovered for a like provision of said federal act.

History of Section.
P.L. 2007, ch. 427, § 1.