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Credit Card Companies Get Kiss From Arizona

PHOENIX (CN) - The Arizona House approved a bill that would allow debt collectors to claim that any use of a credit card account constitutes acceptance of the terms of the credit card agreement.

HB 2664 states the "cardholder's written or electronic signature," or use of the card establishes a "cardholder's acceptance of the terms and conditions of a credit card account."

The bill, by Rep. Jeff Dial, R-Chandler, allows creditors to establish "a presumption of the amount of the debt that is owed on a credit card account through a copy of the issuer's final billing statement or by the electronic data that is maintained by the issuer and that represents the amount owed."

The state House approved the bill by 33-26 vote.

It also states that a creditor can establish the contracted interest rate through the "terms and conditions that contain a stated or variable interest rate," or through a "billing statement generated by the issuer that contains a states or variable interest rate."

The bill initially was rejected by the state Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, but was reconsidered and passed the committee, 4-2.

Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, a Phoenix Democrat, claimed that an unregistered lobbyist pushed the committee to pass the bill, and filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's Office, according to Arizona media reports.

McCune Davis said on her website that HB 2664 "gives debt collectors the power to accuse almost anyone of owing a debt without having to show a contract. If this bill passes a debt buyer would be able to sue a person with little evidence. The lawsuit could proceed if the company had something as simple as a spreadsheet showing a name and an alleged amount due or a generic credit card agreement - even if the debt has already been paid or dismissed."

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