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Ran across some interesting points in Wisconsin Law pertaining to Collections in Wisconsin. These took effect Oct 1st. 2006. If they are not licensed, they can't collect. It has to say this on the bottom of any correspondence.

"This collection agency is licensed by the Division of Banking, P.O. Box 7876, Madison, Wisconsin 53707."


DFI-Bkg 74.13 Fair collection practice notice.

DFI-Bkg 74.13(1)

(1) Unless the initial communication is written and contains the following notice or the debtor has paid the debt, a licensee shall send the debtor the following notice within 5 days after the initial communication with a debtor: "This collection agency is licensed by the Division of Banking, P.O. Box 7876, Madison, Wisconsin 53707." This notice shall be in at least 8 point type and shall be typed or printed on either a collection notice or on the validation of any debt directed to the debtor by the licensee pursuant to Section 809 of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

DFI-Bkg 74.13(2)

(2) Where the notice required by sub. (1) is printed on the reverse side of any collection notice or validation sent by the licensee, the front of such notice shall bear the following statement in not less than 8 point type: "Notice: See Reverse Side for Important Information."

DFI-Bkg 74.15 Unauthorized practice of law. (1) Except as set forth in sub. (2), no collector or other employee of a licensee may in attempting to collect an account, engage in the practice of law. This includes but is not limited to the preparation of a summons or complaint or the appearance on behalf of any creditor, except when called as a witness by the plaintiff's attorney in open court, before any court including the clerk of any small claims court in an action on the debt or in garnishment proceedings. It is not considered the practice of law for an employee of a licensee to prepare a summons or complaint under the direction of an attorney which will subsequently be signed and filed by the plaintiff's attorney. This section does not prohibit the appearance of an owner or officer of a licensed collection agency in court for the purpose of obtaining judgment on a debt owed to the licensee directly.

(2) Sub. (1) does not apply to an attorney who is an employee of the collection agency.

DFI-Bkg 74.16 Oppressive and deceptive practices prohibited. A licensee shall not engage in any oppressive or deceptive practices. In attempting to collect an alleged account, bill or other indebtedness, a licensee shall not do any of the following:

(1) Use or threaten force or violence to cause physical harm to the person, dependents or property of a debtor.

(2) Threaten criminal prosecution.

(3) Disclose or threaten to disclose information adversely affecting the debtor's reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge or reason to know that the information is false.

(4) Initiate or threaten to initiate communication with the debtor's employer prior to obtaining final judgment against the debtor, except as permitted by statute. This subsection does not prohibit a debt collector from communicating with the debtor's employer solely to verify employment status or earnings or where an employer has an established debt counseling service or procedure.

(5) Contact a debtor by telephone following a request or demand by the debtor that such collection efforts cease.

(6) Disclose or threaten to disclose to a person other than the debtor or the debtor's spouse information affecting the debtor's reputation, whether or not for credit worthiness, with knowledge or reason to know that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information.

(7) Disclose or threaten to disclose information concerning the existence of a debt known to be reasonably disputed by the debtor without disclosing the fact that the debtor disputes the debt.

(8) Communicate with the debtor or a person related to the debtor with such frequency or at such unusual hours or in such a manner as can reasonably be expected to threaten or harass the debtor.

(9) Engage in other conduct which can reasonably be expected to threaten or harass the debtor or a person related to the debtor including conduct which violates the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

(10) Use obscene, profane or threatening language in communicating with the debtor or a person related to the debtor.

(11) Claim or attempt to threaten to enforce a right with knowledge or reason to know that the right does not exist.

(12) Use a communication which simulates legal or judicial process or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued or approved by a government, governmental agency or attorney-at-law when it is not or any bogus letter ostensibly addressed to any governmental authority or attorney.

(13) Threaten action against the debtor unless like action is taken in regular course or is intended with respect to the particular debt.

(14) Mutilate any check or other writing tendered by a debtor before forwarding it or returning it to the customer.

(15) Enlist the aid of a neighbor or other third party to request that the debtor contact the licensee except a person who resides with the debtor or a third party with whom the debtor has authorized the licensee to place such requests. This subsection does not apply to a call back message left at the debtor's place of employment which is limited to the licensee's telephone number and the collector's name.

(16) Make collect telephone calls to debtors.


PDF is located at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/cr_final/06-045.pdf

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