Collection Agency Resources

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Debt collection agency and debt collectors
Learn about debt collection agencies.

What is a Collection Agency?

A collection agency is a business that pursues payments on debts owed by individuals or businesses. Most agencies operate as agents of creditors and collect debts for a fee or percentage of the total amount owed.

There are many types of collection agencies, beginning with first-party collection agencies who are often subsidiaries of the original company to which the debt is owed. Third-party agencies are separate companies contracted by a company to then collect the debts on their behalf, usually for a fee.

Another growing industry is debt buyers, in which the collections agency purchases the debt at a fraction of its initial value then attempts to collect upon it. Each country has their own rules and regulations regarding companies that collect financial debts and their practices, which are can be quite aggressive at times.

Collection Agency Industry Associations and Foundations

  • American Collectors Association – ACA International (ACA), the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. The ACA includes third-party collectors, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. The association establishes ethical standards, produces a wide variety of products, services and publications for the credit and collection industry to businesses, policymakers and consumers. They offer email newsletters and a magazine to help you get more information.
  • Commercial Collection Agency Association – Provides information on the collectors code of ethics, profiles, links, free literature, news and surveys.
  • Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) – The CDIA provides helpful industry information and statistical research.
  • Commercial Law League of America – North America’s leading organization of collections, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy professionals. Legislative news on collections and credit reporting.

Credit Reporting Agencies

There are three reporting agencies that considered to be the “big three” in the industry. They are EquifaxExperian and TransUnion. Each of the big three reporting agencies provide consumers with access to their credit report and also provide a wide range of other services to consumers and businesses. Visit their website for more information.

Laws & Regulations

The main law that pertains to this areas is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

Acronyms

Following are some of the more common acronyms related to this area. As a private detective, it is important to be able to speak the language if you plan to offer these services to your clients.

  • ABA – American Bankers Association
  • ABI – American Bankruptcy Institute
  • CCAA – Commercial Collection Agency Association
  • FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • FTC – Federal Trade Commission
  • MBA – Mortgage Bankers Association
  • NFCC – National Federation of Credit Counselors

Recommended Books

Collection Agency Books – Books that explain how to start your own collections agency, or how to get an agency off your back.

Private Investigators as Debt Collectors

Private investigators sometimes offer collection agency services due to their skip tracing skills and ability to track down people. If you’re thinking about providing debt collection Co, be sure to educate yourself on the requirements and state laws.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about this overview or any of the suggested resources please post a comment below.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.

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