Eight House Democrats on Thursday proposed legislation that would require companies to consider bills as "paid" once they are postmarked, an idea meant to help consumers stay current on their bills given the likelihood of service cutbacks at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the lead sponsor of the bill, said USPS has announced service cutbacks that would eliminate the chance of next-day mail service for letters dropped in home mailboxes and would slow down all first-class mail.
Cohen said his bill would make it easier for people to avoid late fees when they choose to mail their bills, by treating these bills as "paid" as soon as they are received by a post office.
"Each month, thousands of Americans are charged late fees and penalties for bills they believed in good faith they had paid on time, through no fault of their own," he said. "This bill would make sure consumers are held to the same payment standards used by the Internal Revenue Service."
The Postmark Payment Act, H.R. 4003, would exempt from this rule change any payment that is required by law or contract to be made electronically. Reps. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) co-sponsored the bill, along with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).