Friday, August 2, 2013

How To Deal With Collection Agencies ~ Part 4 (States With License and/or Bonding Requirements)

This is my final post in this series and I'm sorry that I'm so late in getting it out, especially for those of you who have been checking and waiting for it.  This post is about a very important tool to use against the collection agencies who are harassing you, badgering you, or simply just trying to take your money from you.  I cannot stress enough how important it is that you don't just go and pay these 3rd party collectors.  It will add years of negative credit to your credit reports and can be so much harder to get them to come off when they've been paid.

Now, we've covered a couple tools already. States that have their own version of the FDCPA, and my little bonus of UCC codes on that one. Then, the Statute of Limitations (SOL) for each state.  Here's a little bonus on the SOL that I recently discovered, and those of you in states that have ridiculously long SOL's are going to love this.  UCC 3-118(g) and UCC 4-111 state that the SOL is 3 years!

Yep, 3 years. UCC 3-118(g) is important for credit because this has to do with negotiable instruments and conversion of an instrument.  That's what they do with credit accounts, be it credit cards, credit lines, mortgages, "money lent" by financial institutions. They don't lend money, they lend credit, which is illegal, and they convert the loan docs, application, eg. promissory note or negotiable instrument, whatever you want to call it, into "money. 3 years, folks, 3 years!

Okay, lets get into this last tool.  Many of you are going to love it. This tool is a list of the states that require debt collectors to be licensed and/or bonded to conduct collection activity within their borders.  This usually goes for debt collection law firms as well.  They used to love that they could get away with their sleazy tactics because they were a law firm. But now, if debt collection is the main function of their law firm, they are lumped in the pile of cow poo that is the 3rd party collectors and junk debt buyers that try to collect from consumers.

Most states publish a list of all the licensed debt collection companies.  Some states allow collection acts if they are licensed in other states with similar licensing requirements.  Also, some states have cities that have license requirements as well, to protect the residents of their cities from these scum.  It is wonderful!  I've included the web addresses to look up the collection company or information how to get a list of the 3rd party collectors to see if the ones bugging you are licensed. Most of these state sites have links or instructions how to file complaints against them too.

I want to apologize to those of you who live in states that don't seem to care enough to enact legislation that requires these bullies to get licensed or bonded.  I know, its not me that should apologize, it's them, but you know they will never issue a sincere apology to you. I'm in that same boat as many of you. I'm in California and they don't require licensing or bonding for debt collectors here either.  Its sad. Personally, I think its because its such a money making business for the state to get the court fees from all of them and all the consumers who get sued and lose or have to pay a court filing fee to fight the collectors.  They probably make much more by allowing all that fraudulent nonsense than they would through licensing fees.

Well, read on!  Here's the list!

STATE and TERMS WHERE TO FIND LIST
Alaska - Only requires license for companies located in Alaska or out of state collecting for original creditors located in Alaska. http://commerce.alaska.gov/CBP/Main/SearchInfo.aspx
Arizona - Allows collection agencies that have a valid license in another state that has similar licensing requirements and has a reciprocity clause to collect without obtaining an AZ license
http://azdfi.gov/lists/CA_List.HTML
Arkansas - Requires a license whether they are located in the state or not, if attempting collection on a resident of Arkansas http://www.asbca.org/collect_search/
Colorado - Requires all debt collectors to be licensed and to maintain an office in the state, open to the public, if they want to try and collect from residents. http://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/cab/CabReport.pdf
They update the list every month I think, but I believe the link stays the same.
Connecticut - Have to have a license to collect, regardless of whether they are located in state or not. http://www.ct.gov/dob/cwp/view.asp?a=2233&q=297872 
There's a link at the bottom that is updated to view current licensees and also a tab on the left to verify a license.
Delaware - Must be licensed to collect in the state. They pay $75 to be licensed as Mercantile/collection agency but sometimes they license under personal or professional services as well. https://dorweb.revenue.delaware.gov/bussrch/
This page has a search feature and the ability to download the list of licensed businesses.
Florida - Must be licensed if located in state. Must be licensed if out of state and collecting for creditor in state or soliciting accounts from creditors in state. Are not allowed to collect on medical bills for services covered under HMO's. https://real.flofr.com/ConsumerServices/SearchLicensingRecords/Search.aspx
Hawaii - Must be licensed and bonded. However, for out of state collection companies, if they are licensed and bonded in another state, they can apply for an exemption. But, the exemption is not automatic. It must be approved and granted by the state. http://pvl.ehawaii.gov/pvlsearch/app This link is to search for licenses.
http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/programs/collection/ This page has a link to file complaints against the collectors and look up their complaint history as well!
Idaho - Must be licensed whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents http://finance.idaho.gov/CollectionAgency/CollectionAgencyLicense.aspx
Illinois - Must be licensed unless they are out of state and are licensed with equivalent requirements from that state https://www.idfpr.com/licenselookup/licenselookup.asp
Illinois - City of Chicago Only - Must have a license in both Chicago and the state license. However, if they have an exemption with the state of Illinois, they can get one in Chicago too. https://data.cityofchicago.org/Community-Economic-Development/Business-Licenses-Current-Active/uupf-x98q
Indiana - Must be licensed and bonded. http://www.in.gov/apps/sos/securities/sos_securities
Iowa - Not required to be licensed but must register if they collect $25,000 or more in a calendar year. Applies to creditors and collectors http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/images/pdfs/Contacts_ICCC_Notification_Fe.pdf
Louisiana - Must be licensed and bonded http://www.sos.la.gov/BusinessServices/SearchForLouisianaBusinessFilings/Pages/default.aspx
Maine - Must be licensed and bonded http://pfr.informe.org/ALMSOnline/ALMSQuery/Welcome.aspx
Maryland - Must be licensed and bonded http://www.dllr.state.md.us/finance/industry/licsearch.shtml  You can search by name or location.
Massachusetts - Must be licensed and they use a service called Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) http://www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org/  Looks like its for mortgage brokers but its actually for debt collectors too
Michigan - Must be licensed whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/verify.htm
Minnesota - Individual debt collector (human being) and the collection company they work for must be licensed. http://mn.gov/commerce/banking-and-finance/consumers/license-lookup/license-lookup.jsp
Nebraska - Must be licensed and bonded http://www.sos.ne.gov/licensing/collection/pdf/licensed-collection-agencies.pdf
Nevada - Must be licensed and bonded https://fid.online.nv.gov/datamart/selSearchType.do?from=loginPage
New Jersey - Must be bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents http://www.nj.gov/treasury/revenue/collagency.shtml  You have to request a verification of the bond by mail.
New Mexico - Must be licensed and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents http://rldverification.rld.state.nm.us/Verification/Search.aspx?facility=Y  In the "License Type" drop down list, select collection agency
New York - City of Buffalo Only - Must be licensed and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents http://www.city-buffalo.com/Home/City_Departments/EDPIS/Licenses/LicensedContractors
New York - New York City Only - Must be licensed whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents and must include license number on all correspondence http://www.nyc.gov/html/dca/html/licenses/license_check.shtml
North Carolina - Must be licensed and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents. https://sbs-nc.naic.org/Lion-Web/jsp/sbsreports/CompanySearchLookup.jsp Use "company type" for drop down to collection agency
http://www.ncdoi.com/ASD/ASD_Consumer.aspx  Use this link to file a complaint!
North Dakota - Must be licensed and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents. This includes every branch office they may use for collection activity http://www.nd.gov/dfi/regulate/reg/regulated.asp
Oregon - Must be licensed and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents. http://www4.cbs.state.or.us/ex/all/mylicsearch/index.cfm?fuseaction=main.show_main&group_id=20&profession_id=22&profession_sub_id=22000&profession_name=Collection%20Agencies
Rhode Island - Must be licensed whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents.  May also have to have a bond. http://www.dbr.state.ri.us/documents/divisions/banking/program_operations/List_of_Debt_Collectors.pdf
Tennessee - Must be licensed and bonded. However, for out of state collection companies, if they are licensed and bonded in another state, they can apply for an exemption. But, the exemption is not automatic. It must be approved and granted by the state. http://verify.tn.gov/
Texas - Must be bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents https://direct.sos.state.tx.us/debtcollectors/dcsearch.asp
Utah - Must be registered with the Div. of Corporations and Commercial code and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents https://secure.utah.gov/bes/
Washington - Must be licensed and bonded whether in state or not to try to collect alleged debts from residents. Also includes debt buyers. https://fortress.wa.gov/dol/dolprod/bpdLicenseQuery/
West Virginia - Must be licensed and bonded and have an office in state to perform collection activities http://apps.sos.wv.gov/business/corporations/
Wisconsin - Must be licensed and bonded to collect in state. Out of state exemption if only performing collection activity via "interstate telecommunications and interstate mail."  ~ To me, this sounds like they can't sue you if they are out of the state and don't have a license or bond and they have an exemption. http://www.wdfi.org/fi/lfs/licensee_lists/
Wyoming - Must be licensed and bonded and have an actual office with resident manager in the state. Every office or branch must be licensed and bonded. Exemptions for collecting business and or commercial debt or law firm collecting for the TRUE name of the original creditor.  Also, do not have to be licensed if the alleged debt they are attempting to collect originated out of state on the internet or by mail. http://audit.state.wy.us/banking/cab/cablicensees.htm

Now, I hope you noticed that Illinois has a state licensing requirement but so does the city of Chicago. This means that if you live in Chicago, Illinois, the debt collector has to have a license for both the state and the city of Chicago.  I can honestly say, this is one thing that it appears Chicago is doing right!  If you get a bill from a debt collector, and you demand validation and they respond, you've got them.  Heck, you've got them if they aren't licensed. REPORT THEM IMMEDIATELY, at the same time you send them a "Ha, Ha, you're gonna get it" letter!

The state of New York DOES NOT have any licensing requirements. But the city of Buffalo does and New York City has licensing laws too!  Its not as good as Chicago, but heck, if you live in one of those two cities, you're faring better than the rest of the folks in the state of New York that live in other cities!

Make sure if you're in one of these states or cities that require licensing, registration or bonding, you look up that 3rd party collector. You never know, they may not be licensed, and that will make your credit repair efforts that much easier! Some states may have quirky little exemptions,  but for the most part, all of these states require some sort of licensing and/or bonding.

You should use this tool.  Also, I urge you to file complaints on these 3rd party collectors for every little violation that they do. You may have to do a little bit of searching on your state's correct government website to find how to file a complaint, but do it.  If they get repeated complaints from consumers, they will get fined and can get their licenses revoked. Getting these companies banned from collecting in your state helps all consumers. Then it may be a little easier to get bad debt removed from your credit reports because they will NOT be allowed to report on your credit reports in any way, shape or form because it is considered "collection activity" and without a license, it is blatantly illegal!

I like giving you assistance in your fight to rid your credit reports of these blood suckers and I hope that this information helps your pursuit of pretty credit a bit easier.  If cleaning up your credit is a bigger job than you want to handle on your own, please give me a call or email me.  I'd love to be the one you choose to help you.

8 comments:

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    1. Hi Megh,

      I don't have an email subscription, have thought about it for quite a while but haven't ever had the time to do it and write articles for that. But, I do have a "followers" section with a "join me" button. To tell the truth, I'm not sure how that works, but I think that it notifies you when I put up a new post.

      I have tried to write something every week but got very behind the last month and a half. I am going to try to keep writing a post every week again though. So, if you do click that button and join, I think it will notify you of new posts. Otherwise, you can bookmark it and check back. Not as convenient I know. I will seriously consider doing a newsletter or email subscription to at least notify people of new posts and what they are about.

      Thanks for coming here and liking it enough to comment. It really means a lot to me!

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