NanaC

REQUIREMENTS FOR CA'S BY STATE

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I recommend you follow these steps while your first round of disputes are processing at the CRA’s and/or you receive a notice from a CA that money is due. This is intended for Collection Agencies only!

Warning: DO NOT accept the word of the CA in this situation! Do NOT call them and ask them if they are legal/bonded/licensed! (I SUGGEST YOU NEVER CALL A CA FOR ANY REASON!) Find out for yourself if they are legal to operate as a CA in the state in question!

NanaC's Notions on State Law:

1. Go to www.lawdog.com and find the appropriate state(s). Be sure to check for the state you live in and the state the CA is in. Everything we discuss must be done twofold – in the state the “debtor” (you) are located in and the state of the CA. Look at the "debt collections" or "collection agency" link and see if that state has specific laws regarding CA's.

2. The results under the link will either be:

A. license required

B. bond required

C. both license or bond required

D. nothing required

3. If a license is required, you’ll want to search and see if the CA in question has a valid license. Most states have an online license search. You’ll find them usually by finding that state’s attorney general website and looking for licensing. To find an attorney general’s website, simply do a google search with the “state” and words “attorney general,” for instance, search “Texas attorney general.” If a license is not found, the CA is probably not legal to pursue you for collection activities. PRINT OUT THE PAGE SHOWING NO LICENSE!

4. Get the letter (PM me or should I post?) sent out (modified with your specifics) sent CRRR right away!

5. If a bond is required, contact the person (in Texas, it’s the Secretary of State) and find out if the bond has been properly filed by the CA. In most cases, you can even email them and find out. If no bond is filed, ask the contact person for cerification of NO RECORD. For a small fee, they should send you a certified letter stating the CA has no bond on file. This likely makes them illegal to pursue collections against you.

6. Get this letter (see question 4 above) sent our (modified with your specifics) sent CRRR right away!

7. If both a license and a bond are required, then do both #3 and #5 and send letter if appropriate with ALL violations!

8. If the state does not require licensing or a bond, do a search for the attorney general in the states in questions, and find out how to file a consumer complaint. Then, file it with the state.

9. However, I emphasize again…you usually have TWO states to work with: the state you reside in and the state where the CA is located. Follow the procedures completely for BOTH states.

10. If you find out the CA is licensed properly, find out if there is a CA regulating board in that state at the Attorney General’s website and file a complaint of violations by that CA. They will investigate your complaint and have the power to admonish (discipline) the CA. Often, this leads to deletion of the entry from your CR and the end of their collection activities against you. A word of warning: If you file a lawsuit, the regulating boards will likely not assist you further and it takes up to 45 days for a response!

11. If you find that the CA is operating illegally in any manner, send NanaC 5 million dollars for writing up this info. heehee.

12. Watch the entry disappear. (I hope)

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Some more thinking no this:

1. Warning: DO NOT accept the word of the CA in this situation! Do NOT call them and ask them if they are legal/bonded/licensed! (I SUGGEST YOU NEVER CALL A CA FOR ANY REASON!) Find out for yourself if they are legal to operate as a CA in the state in question!

2. Professional courtesy is one thing but I would not overexplain the situation to them. You don't owe them anything...they are ILLEGAL!!! They need to grab both CA butt cheeks and haul rear end away from you and their CA attempts.

3. There have been some questions about the validation w/state illegality letter and the reason I combined them....in my humble opinion and experience, by combining this, they get completely overwhelmed. First, you found them out, then you want them to put on paper their attempt to collect by a validation request? If they are stupid enough to send the validation request back in ANY form, you have proof of full-fledged collection activity! They are making your case stronger and stronger!

4. When doing state searches for CA's, be aware of variances in the CA name which could result in false info..for example, if you are searching for CFC, you will want to check "CFC" and "Commerce Funding Corporation." In fact, I would just type in "Commerce" so I get a complete listing of any biz with "Commerce" in its name.

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State By State Collection Agency Requirements (Subject to change, better known, as don't yell at me if something has changed..LOL)

A Quick Guide

Be sure to look up the state you reside in and the state the Collection Agency resides in and check for compliance in both states!

States Requiring Licensing, Registration, Exam, and/or Bond

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Nebraska

Nevada

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York in Buffalo and New York City

North Carolina

North Dakota

Oregon

Puerto Rico

South Carolina (not for CA, but business license is required)

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

States Requiring License Tax

Alabama

No Bond or License Required

District Of Columbia

Kansas

Kentucky

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

New Hampshire

Ohio

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Dakota

Vermont

Virginia

State Fair Collection Act in Place

California

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TEXAS:

In order to verify bond requirements in Texas:

Verification of Bond or Complaints (By Telephone or Email, no online)

Nina Weston at (512) 463-6906, or on the internet at

nweston@sos.state.tx.us.

ILLINOIS:

www.dpr.state.il.us

ARIZONA:

http://www.revenue.state.az.us/609/licensingguide.htm

MARYLAND:

STATE OF MARYLAND

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING AND REGULATION

COMMISSIONER OF FINANCIAL REGULATION

500 North Calvert Street, Suite 402

Baltimore, Maryland 21202-2272

Tel: 800-735-2258

Fax: 410-333-3866

E-mail: mddllr@mail.state.md.us

GEORGIA:

http://www.gsccca.org/clerks/

Check with clerk of county for bond

NEW JERSEY:

www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/dcr/programs/collagy.html

Note: search on their site for collection agency brought several interesting articles regarding the state suits against various CA's!)

Sorry about CAL but do read their state debt/collection laws! :)

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Many State websites allow you to do a 'license lookup'.

These are usually found somewhere under "Doing Business In..." links on the home pages.

Some other deparments that may contain licensing requirements is your Secretary of State, Dept. of Labor, Dept. of Economic Development, etc.

You just have to dig around your state site to find the info, or call them if you have trouble finding it.

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Texas Debt Collection Laws

Here is an easy violation to catch the CA’s on in Texas:

392.202. Correction of Third-Party Debt Collector's or Credit Bureau's Files

(a) An individual who disputes the accuracy of an item in a third-party debt collector's or credit bureau's file on the individual may notify in writing the third-party debt collector or credit bureau of the inaccuracy. The third-party debt collector or credit bureau shall provide forms for the notice and, when requested, assist an individual in preparing the notice.

So this law puts the CA on the hook at anytime you send them a letter disputing the info they have on file. Unlike the Federal FDCPA, which only puts them on the hook once they send the “initial communication” letter. And even then, doesn’t require them to actually respond to the dispute.

And then the next section has the actual time limit imposed.

392.202. Correction of Third-Party Debt Collector's or Credit Bureau's Files

(B) Not later than the 30th day after the date a notice of inaccuracy is received, the third-party debt collector or credit bureau shall send a written statement to the individual:

(1) denying the inaccuracy;

(2) admitting the inaccuracy; or

(3) stating that the third-party debt collector or credit bureau has not had sufficient time to complete an investigation of the inaccuracy.

I just thought I would post this to help out those people in Texas.

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Wisconsin

What I'v found so far.

http://folio.legis.state.wi.us/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=35369178&infobase=stats.nfo&jump=ch.%20427

PDF file to get it all

http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0427.pdf

Its a great read! It also sites some case law, so that's really cool!

Question though, could you sue for violations of both state and federal violations at the same time?

EDIT: Chapters 421 to 427 shall be known and may be cited as the Wisconsin consumer act. 427 just happens to be about collections. But theres alot of other good stuff in the other chapters also.

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I found this; I hope it's okay that I am putting it here. If not, please delete.

State Laws and Debt Collection Agencies

Over half of the states have laws that govern the activities of debt collectors. Some laws provide additional protections not found in the federal law. Attachment A to this guide lists such state laws and provides links to publications about them, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs27plus.htm.

California's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (California Civil Code § 1788, et seq.) adds to the federal law in several ways.

Unlike the federal law, the California law applies to third-party collectors as well as creditors that collect debts for themselves.

California law also gives you added protections against unwarranted contact with your employer.

In California a debt collector may only contact your employer to:

Verify your employment status.

Verify your business address.

Garnish your wages when a court issues a judgement against you.

Find out about insurance coverage if the debt involves a medical bill.

Under California law, the debt collector must first attempt to contact your employer in writing for any one of the allowed purposes (except for verification of employment, in which case a single oral contact is permitted). The collector may only telephone or make a personal contact with your employer regarding the issues listed above if after 15 days there has been no response to the written inquiry.

For more on debt collection in California, see the California Attorney General's publication, "Collection Agencies," www.caag.state.ca.us/consumers/general/collect.htm.

Does a collection agency need a license?

There is no federal license or registration required for collection agencies. However, in some states debt collectors must register or apply for a state license. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Many states also require collection agencies to be bonded. In some states, such as California, there may have been prior requirements for licensing of collectors, resulting in state regulations being retained on the books of the state even after the regulatory agency has been disbanded. These regulations may provide additional details and support for legal arguments of what is considered proper. To learn more about the licensing and bonding requirements for collection agencies operating in your state, link to your state's collection law through Attachment A, www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs27plus.htm. If your state is not listed, contact your state's attorney general through the National Association of Attorneys General web site, www.naag.org.

You may also contact your state's consumer protection office through the federal government's Consumer Action web site, www.consumeraction.gov/state.shtml.

I found this here: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs27-debtcoll.htm

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All collectors are required to be registered with the state BEFORE any contact with a debtor. Here's the Washington Dept of Licensing registration page for collectors, which includes a search feature:

http://www.dol.wa.gov/mls/colfront.htm

One really nice feature is that if the collector actually takes your money, they are in violation of Washington law, and may be forced to return the money:

RCW 19.16.430Violations — Operating agency without a license — Penalty — Return of fees or compensation.	(1) Any person who knowingly operates as a collection agency or out-of-state collection agency without a license or knowingly aids and abets such violation is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars or by imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.     (2) Any person who operates as a collection agency or out-of-state collection agency in the state of Washington without a valid license issued pursuant to this chapter shall not charge or receive any fee or compensation on any moneys received or collected while operating without a license or on any moneys received or collected while operating with a license but received or collected as a result of his or its acts as a collection agency or out-of-state collection agency while not licensed hereunder. All such moneys collected or received shall be forthwith returned to the owners of the accounts on which the moneys were paid.

I'm currently getting calls from a collector who is not on the list. I'm waiting for their letter, and then I plan to report them to the DOL.

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I found this link that explains the MI Statues. I even understood.....I think ;)

http://www.michiganlegalaid.org/MPLP/Resources/mplpresource.2006-04-07.9278796794/

Like a few other states, CAs & OCs both are held under the MI Statutes.

Also...."Both the state and federal acts require debt collectors to validate debts. Michigan places an additional requirement: "Verification of the debt or any disputed portion of the debt shall include the number and amount of previously made payments . . ." MCL � 339.918(e)(2)".

Hope this helps fellow Michiganders.

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One thing should be mentioned because I dont know how many other states have this same situation.

In NC LAWYERS do not have to be licensed with a permit.. if you are an attorney ANYWHERE in the country and are collecting for a JDB a permit is a moot point.. they seem to be "above the law" in those cases.. this is not heresay I actually had several conversation with the AG's office regarding this... seems lawyers have carte blanche in my state.. all the rules go out the window if you passed the bar at some point in your life.

In fact I had a sleazy collection agency after me,.. "owned" by an attorney... they were sent a letter by the AG to cease and desist using the collection agency name since they had no permit.. but all he did is change his letterhead to his law offices name.. and the AG said they are within the law at this point.. so this is an FYI

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In Florida you have to check and see if they are incorporated:

Do a search here:http://ccfcorp.dos.state.fl.us/corpweb/inquiry/cormenu.html

and then you must check the Department of Finanancial Services to see if they are licensed to collect in the state of florida.

Do that from here:http://www.fldfs.com/SiteMap/

Any Collection Agency who is not licensed or registered in the State of Florida can not collect debts, sue or be sued.

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