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Some Updates on Certified Mail in Legal Statutes – May 2024

For decades Certified Mail has played an important role in thousands of state laws across the country, whether in new statutes, or modifications of existing statutes. Here are two that caught our attention recently.

Maine law LD 2115 as Chapter 663 of the Laws of 2024, a new law that places limitations on the collection and litigation of medical debt by amending the Maine Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Title 32, Chapter 109-A) to prohibit debt collectors from charging interest and fees on medical debt as well as any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or implication that interest and fees will accumulate on the debt principal when the debt collector knows the debt is medical debt.

In Maine

The law also prohibits debt collectors from pursuing litigation to compel payment of a medical debt without first sending a consumer notice indicating that litigation will not be pursued when the debt collector knows the consumer’s income is at or lower than 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, as defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget. The debt collector must allow the consumer at least 30 days to provide such proof. Certified Mail is a preferred method for debt collectors to send the consumer notice, and for the consumer to respond, since Certified Mail provides Proof of Delivery with Signature that is recognized by courts in Maine (and across the country).

In Minnesota

In May 2024, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law Senate Bill 4097, containing reforms relating to collection agency licensing, coerced debt, medical debt limitations, property exemptions, and wage garnishment.

In regard to coerced debt, Senate Bill 4097 clarifies that the MN Statutes 2023 Supplement, section 332.83, subdivision 1, is amended to read “Before taking an affirmative action under section 332.74, a debtor must, by Certified Mail, notify a creditor that the debt or a portion of a debt on which the creditor demands payment is coerced debt and request that the creditor cease all collection activity on the coerced debt. The notification and request must be in writing and include documentation.”

In regard to bond or indemnity agreement is breached and the surety, bail bond agency, or producer suffers a loss, the surety or bail bond agency that controls the collateral must send to the depositor written notice that notifies the depositor that the surety or bail bond agency intends to liquidate noncash collateral. “The written notice must be sent by Certified Mail to the depositor’s last known address at least 30 days before the date the surety or bail bond agency liquidates the noncash collateral.

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