Wisconsin Collectors Assoc Supports NCPW

National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is coming up March 3-9, 2013. NCPW is a campaign aimed at providing consumers with information about their rights as a consumer.

The NCPW web site offers tips and resources for consumer use.

The Wisconsin Collectors Association released a press release in today in support of NCPW. You can read it below.

Contact: Mark Schiffman, PR Director
Tel. (952) 259-2124 or schiffman@acainternational.org


MADISON – (February 28, 2013) – Wisconsin Collectors Association (WCA) members today applaud the Federal Trade Commission’s National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, 2013 and encourage consumers to visit AskDoctorDebt.org for free information to better understand debt collection and their rights. Many Wisconsin consumers are being contacted by third-party debt collectors to resolve duly owed financial obligations.

According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of consumer debt in the United States now exceeds $11.5 trillion. Whether a mortgage, medical bill, student loan, auto loan or credit card debt; the repayment of consumer and business credit is vital to the national, state and local economies. Based on a recent study by Ernst & Young, third-party debt collectors recovered $55 billion in 2010 on behalf of creditor, health care, government and other clients. This report includes details specific to our state.

“Engaging third party debt collectors to recover these debts helps reduce the cost of goods and services, allows affordable credit to be available, reduces the need for future tax increases,” WCA President Laura Thesing said. “It’s not only the non-profit and private sectors that benefit from debt collection. Federal, state, and local government also rely on the repayment of billions of taxpayer owed dollars in delinquencies including uncollected court fees, unpaid taxes, library fines, and traffic tickets.”

The non-profit ACA International Education Foundation created www.askdoctordebt.org as a free resource to help ensure consumers contacted about these debts know their rights and better navigate the often confusing world of personal finance. No registration or sharing of a consumer’s personal information is required.

Thesing added that harassment, threats and other illegal activity are unacceptable and violators must be held accountable. WCA members are working with regulators, Congress and state leaders to ensure a balanced debt collection system that protects consumers and allows the legitimate collection of debt to function.

The Wisconsin Collectors Association is a state Unit of ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. ACA International (www.acainternational.org) is the comprehensive, knowledge-based resource for success in the credit and collection industry. Founded in 1939, ACA brings together 5,000 members in the United States and abroad, and their more than 300,000 employees, representing third-party collection agencies, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendor affiliates. ACA supports members through state and federal advocacy, training and resources. For more information about ACA Education Foundation, visit www.acainternational/foundation.


Should Debt Collectors Stop Accepting Electronic Payments?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the federal law that regulates the collection activities of debt collectors.

How states interpret that law has some debt collection agencies fuming.  Several states have determined that part of the law restricts the rights of debt collectors to pass along transaction or bank fees to consumers who opt to pay their debt using a credit card.

To find out more read Laws Unfairly Treat Debt Collectors Differently on Credit Card Payments  at InsideARM.com.

Want more information on debt collection?  Please contact us.

Credit Service International
516 Second Street, Suite 210
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: (715) 386-0424
(800) 584-9407

FTC Panel 4: That Time My Mind Was Blown or Is Email Considered Mail?

Mail vs. E-mail ImageThe question was startling in its simplicity — one of those things that I’ve probably taken for granted my whole life. (Or, at least, the whole of my life that was aware of the Internet.) Is email considered mail?

“Well of course it…is? Or isn’t? I mean, it’s definitely…not. Or it is?” I was heartened to see the panelists struggling as much as I was.

Email communication seems like a fantastic idea at first blush. It’s targeted directly to the consumer. It’s an alternative to phones (and society seems to be more and more phone-phobic*). It’s cost-efficient, since there’s no postage. It truly seems like an unbeatable idea.

So of course it’s doomed to failure.

The failure starts like this: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act uses the word “mail” in its legalese. And the FDCPA was written at some point after the Declaration of Independence but before 1997 when I got my first email address. So, since the FDCPA doesn’t know about email, it’s unclear whether the FDCPA can know about email.

One of the panelists, Robert W. Murphy, Secretary for the National Association of Consumer Advocates, avers that no: the FDCPA does not want email to be counted as mail. His argument relied on very literal and tangible things like “it’s not actual mail with an actual stamp” and “you have to print it out.”

On the other side of the argument, Zafar Khan of RPost U.S., Inc., and Barbara Sinsley of DBA International, suggested that email should have — and actually does have — the same legitimacy of traditional postal mail. Especially in a post-Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act world. Even if the FDCPA has not changed in 30+ years, Khan and Sinsley argued, our definition and acceptance of email as mail has.

Email communication is still The Future for many collection agencies — especially since there are no clear guidelines on the use of email, or even a clear way to be protected if an agency wanted to use email. What seems to be a frustrating continuum throughout all of these panel discussions is that the questions are real, and provocative; but the answers are convoluted or not forthcoming.

* An actual conversation I heard on the train once: “My sister doesn’t understand how to answer her phone. She only uses it for texting.” I then turned 97 and realized that I was exhaustingly old.

Article by Mike Bevel – insideARM.com – April 28, 2011


Collection Technology

Collection Technology ImageThe accounts receivable management industry relies heavily on technology to streamline processes and make operations more efficient. From complex communication technology like predictive dialers to cutting edge scoring and analytics, debt collection professionals use a host of progressive software and hardware solutions. [Read more…]