Senate acts to protect consumers, make debt collections fairer 

Debt Collection Fairness Act would protect wages and reduce exorbitant interest charges 

BOSTON (3/28/2024)—Today, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) and her colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation to protect consumers and help keep people from being pushed into financial ruin if they are sued for financial debt. The new law would make debt collection practices fairer, protect wages, and make clear that no person can go to prison for their debt.  

The Debt Collection Fairness Act— S.2713—would protect thousands of families across the state, including many in communities of color, by reducing the interest rate from 12% to 3% on judgments on consumer debt, which is often old debt that has been bought by debt collection companies for pennies on the dollar. 

It would also protect at least $975 in wages per week from a person subject to wage garnishment because of a debt and ensure that no one in the Commonwealth is imprisoned for failure to pay a consumer debt. Currently only $750 per week in wages is protected from garnishment. The bill would also reduce, from 6 years to 5 years, the time in which a company can bring suit to collect a consumer debt.  

“For residents in the Commonwealth, debt collection can ravage a family’s financial and personal well-being,” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This legislation protects consumers by safeguarding more wages from garnishment and reducing debt interest from predatory to reasonable levels. I am hopeful that these important measures will soon become law.” 

This is the third time a version of the bill has passed the Senate. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.