What is a professional debt collection service?
Third-party collection services collect on past-due accounts referred to them by various credit grantors, retail stores or any business that extends credit or offers payment installment plans.
What does a typical professional collection office do?
The collection office sends the consumer a notice on behalf of the credit grantor showing the debt that is owed. Then the collection agency tries to collect on the debt.
Why are accounts referred for collection?
Most accounts are referred for collection because they have gone unpaid for several months and the creditor has not received communication from the consumer. Third-party collection services, which use specialized phone systems, computers and software designed specifically for the collection industry at collecting payment on such delinquent accounts.
Is there a typical debtor?
No. People from all walks of life face financial problems. These problems can stem from poor money management and budgeting skills, the loss of a job, prolonged ill health or a multitude of other unforeseen circumstances.
What should people do if they receive a collection notice?
First, stay calm. Just as consumers depend on an income to pay their living expenses, the people who sell goods or services on credit depend on your payment to meet their own expenses. Remember, by the time your account has been turned over to a collection specialist, the creditor has probably carried the account for several months. Second, work with the collection agency to resolve the problem before it gets worse.
Why do we need collection agencies?
Most accounts are referred for collection because they have gone unpaid for several months. Without the quick actions of collection services, unpaid debt is often reflected by higher consumer prices. Since there is a limit on how high prices can be increased before businesses begin losing customers, bad debt also results in business failure and job loss.
How has the collection industry changed over the past 15 years?
In addition to more thorough training for collectors, the greatest changes in the collection industry have resulted from significant increase in automation. Fifteen years ago, most collection offices kept track of accounts on paper cards; information was recorded manually and collectors dialed their telephones themselves. Today, offices are computerized, use collection-specific software and have sophisticated telephone systems with automated dialers.
What are some common collection laws?
CIVIL CODE SECTION 1788-1788.3
1788. This title may be cited as the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
1788.1. (a) The Legislature makes the following findings: (1) The banking and credit system and grantors of credit to consumers are dependent upon the collection of just and owing debts. Unfair or deceptive collection practices undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking and credit system and sound extensions of credit to consumers. (2) There is need to ensure that debt collectors and debtors exercise their responsibilities to one another with fairness, honesty and due regard for the rights of the other. (b) It is the purpose of this title to prohibit debt collectors from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the collection of consumer debts and to require debtors to act fairly in entering into and honoring such debts, as specified in this title.
1788.2. (a) Definitions and rules of construction set forth in this section are applicable for the purpose of this title. (b) The term "debt collection" means any act or practice in connection with the collection of consumer debts. (c) The term "debt collector" means any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on behalf of himself or herself or others, engages in debt collection. The term includes any person who composes and sells, or offers to compose and sell, forms, letters, and other collection media used or intended to be used for debt collection, but does not include an attorney or counselor at law. (d) The term "debt" means money, property or their equivalent which is due or owing or alleged to be due or owing from a natural person to another person. (e) The term "consumer credit transaction" means a transaction between a natural person and another person in which property, services or money is acquired on credit by that natural person from such other person primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. (f) The terms "consumer debt" and "consumer credit" mean money, property or their equivalent, due or owing or alleged to be due or owing from a natural person by reason of a consumer credit transaction. (g) The term "person" means a natural person, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, trust, estate, cooperative, association or other similar entity. (h) Except as provided in Section 1788.18, the term "debtor" means a natural person from whom a debt collector seeks to collect a consumer debt which is due and owing or alleged to be due and owing from such person. (i) The term "creditor" means a person who extends consumer credit to a debtor. (j) The term "consumer credit report" means any written, oral or other communication of any information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's creditworthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for (1) credit or insurance to be used primarily for person, family, or household purposes, or (2) employment purposes, or (3) other purposes authorized under any applicable federal or state law or regulation. The term does not include (a) any report containing information solely as to transactions or experiences between the consumer and the person making the report; (b) any authorization or approval of a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly by the issuer of a credit card or similar device; or (c) any report in which a person who has been requested by a third party to make a specific extension of credit directly or indirectly to a consumer conveys his or her decision with respect to that request, if the third party advises the consumer of the name and address of the person to whom the request was made and such person makes the disclosures to the consumer required under any applicable federal or state law or regulation. (k) The term "consumer reporting agency" means any person which, for monetary fees, dues, or on a cooperative nonprofit basis, regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information or other information on consumers for the purpose of furnishing consumer credit reports to third parties, and which uses any means or facility for the purpose of preparing or furnishing consumer credit reports.
1788.3. Nothing contained in this title shall be construed to prohibit a credit union chartered under Division 5 (commencing with Section 14000) of the Financial Code or under the Federal Credit Union Act (Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 1751) of Title 12 of the United States Code) from providing information to an employer when the employer is ordinarily and necessarily entitled to receive such information because he is an employee, officer, committee member, or agent of such credit union.
CIVIL CODE SECTION 1788.10-1788.18
1788.10. No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt by means of the following conduct: (a) The use, or threat of use, of physical force or violence or any criminal means to cause harm to the person, or the reputation, or the property of any person; (b) The threat that the failure to pay a consumer debt will result in an accusation that the debtor has committed a crime where such accusation, if made, would be false; (c) The communication of, or threat to communicate to any person the fact that a debtor has engaged in conduct, other than the failure to pay a consumer debt, which the debt collector knows or has reason to believe will defame the debtor; (d) The threat to the debtor to sell or assign to another person the obligation of the debtor to pay a consumer debt, with an accompanying false representation that the result of such sale or assignment would be that the debtor would lose any defense to the consumer debt; (e) The threat to any person that nonpayment of the consumer debt may result in the arrest of the debtor or the seizure, garnishment, attachment or sale of any property or the garnishment or attachment of wages of the debtor, unless such action is in fact contemplated by the debt collector and permitted by the law; or (f) The threat to take any action against the debtor which is prohibited by this title.
1788.11. No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt by means of the following practices: (a) Using obscene or profane language; (b) Placing telephone calls without disclosure of the caller's identity, provided that an employee of a licensed collection agency may identify himself by using his registered alias name as long as he correctly identifies the agency he represents; (c) Causing expense to any person for long distance telephone calls, telegram fees or charges for other similar communications, by misrepresenting to such person the purpose of such telephone call, telegram or similar communication; (d) Causing a telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously to annoy the person called; or (e) Communicating, by telephone or in person, with the debtor with such frequency as to be unreasonable and to constitute an harassment to the debtor under the circumstances.
1788.12. No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt by means of the following practices: (a) Communicating with the debtor's employer regarding the debtor' s consumer debt unless such a communication is necessary to the collection of the debt, or unless the debtor or his attorney has consented in writing to such communication. A communication is necessary to the collection of the debt only if it is made for the purposes of verifying the debtor's employment, locating the debtor, or effecting garnishment, after judgment, of the debtor's wages, or in the case of a medical debt for the purpose of discovering the existence of medical insurance. Any such communication, other than a communication in the case of a medical debt by a health care provider or its agent for the purpose of discovering the existence of medical insurance, shall be in writing unless such written communication receives no response within 15 days and shall be made only as many times as is necessary to the collection of the debt. Communications to a debtor's employer regarding a debt shall not contain language that would be improper if the communication were made to the debtor. One communication solely for the purpose of verifying the debtor's employment may be oral without prior written contact. (b) Communicating information regarding a consumer debt to any member of the debtor's family, other than the debtor's spouse or the parents or guardians of the debtor who is either a minor or who resides in the same household with such parent or guardian, prior to obtaining a judgment against the debtor, except where the purpose of the communication is to locate the debtor, or where the debtor or his attorney has consented in writing to such communication; (c) Communicating to any person any list of debtors which discloses the nature or existence of a consumer debt, commonly known as "deadbeat lists", or advertising any consumer debt for sale, by naming the debtor; or (d) Communicating with the debtor by means of a written communication that displays or conveys any information about the consumer debt or the debtor other than the name, address and telephone number of the debtor and the debt collector and which is intended both to be seen by any other person and also to embarrass the debtor. (e) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the disclosure, publication or communication by a debt collector of information relating to a consumer debt or the debtor to a consumer reporting agency or to any other person reasonably believed to have a legitimate business need for such information shall not be deemed to violate this title.
1788.13. No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt by means of the following practices: (a) Any communication with the debtor other than in the name either of the debt collector or the person on whose behalf the debt collector is acting; (b) Any false representation that any person is an attorney or counselor at law; (c) Any communication with a debtor in the name of an attorney or counselor at law or upon stationery or like written instruments bearing the name of the attorney or counselor at law, unless such communication is by an attorney or counselor at law or shall have been approved or authorized by such attorney or counselor at law; (d) The representation that any debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, affiliated with, or is an instrumentality, agent or official of any federal, state or local government or any agency of federal, state or local government, unless the collector is actually employed by the particular governmental agency in question and is acting on behalf of such agency in the debt collection matter; (e) The false representation that the consumer debt may be increased by the addition of attorney's fees, investigation fees, service fees, finance charges, or other charges if, in fact, such fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing obligation; (f) The false representation that information concerning a debtor' s failure or alleged failure to pay a consumer debt has been or is about to be referred to a consumer reporting agency; (g) The false representation that a debt collector is a consumer reporting agency; (h) The false representation that collection letters, notices or other printed forms are being sent by or on behalf of a claim, credit, audit or legal department; (i) The false representation of the true nature of the business or services being rendered by the debt collector; (j) The false representation that a legal proceeding has been, is about to be, or will be instituted unless payment of a consumer debt is made; (k) The false representation that a consumer debt has been, is about to be, or will be sold, assigned, or referred to a debt collector for collection; or (l) Any communication by a licensed collection agency to a debtor demanding money unless the claim is actually assigned to the collection agency.
1788.14. No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt by means of the following practices: (a) Obtaining an affirmation from a debtor of a consumer debt which has been discharged in bankruptcy, without clearly and conspicuously disclosing to the debtor, in writing, at the time such affirmation is sought, the fact that the debtor is not legally obligated to make such affirmation; (b) Collecting or attempting to collect from the debtor the whole or any part of the debt collector's fee or charge for services rendered, or other expense incurred by the debt collector in the collection of the consumer debt, except as permitted by law; or (c) Initiating communications, other than statements of account, with the debtor with regard to the consumer debt, when the debt collector has been previously notified in writing by the debtor's attorney that the debtor is represented by such attorney with respect to the consumer debt and such notice includes the attorney's name and address and a request by such attorney that all communications regarding the consumer debt be addressed to such attorney, unless the attorney fails to answer correspondence, return telephone calls, or discuss the obligation in question. This subdivision shall not apply where prior approval has been obtained from the debtor's attorney, or where the communication is a response in the ordinary course of business to a debtor's inquiry.
1788.15. (a) No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt by means of judicial proceedings when the debt collector knows that service of process, where essential to jurisdiction over the debtor or his property, has not been legally affected. (b) No debt collector shall collect or attempt to collect a consumer debt, other than one reduced to judgment, by means of judicial proceedings in a county other than the county in which the debtor has incurred the consumer debt or the county in which the debtor resides at the time such proceedings are instituted, or resided at the time the debt was incurred.
1788.16. It is unlawful, with respect to attempted collection of a consumer debt, for a debt collector, creditor, or an attorney, to send a communication which simulates legal or judicial process or which gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a governmental agency or attorney when it is not. Any violation of the provisions of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or by both.
1788.17. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, every debt collector collecting or attempting to collect a consumer debt shall comply with the provisions of Sections 1692b to 1692j, inclusive, of, and shall be subject to the remedies in Section 1692k of, Title 15 of the United States Code. However, subsection (11) of Section 1692e and Section 1692g shall not apply to any person specified in paragraphs (A) and (B) of subsection (6) of Section 1692a of Title 15 of the United States Code or that person's principal. The references to federal codes in this section refer to those codes as they read January 1, 2001.
1788.18. (a) Upon receipt from a debtor of all of the following, a debt collector shall cease collection activities until completion of the review provided in subdivision (d): (1) A copy of a police report filed by the debtor alleging that the debtor is the victim of an identity theft crime, including, but not limited to, a violation of Section 530.5 of the Penal Code, for the specific debt being collected by the debt collector. (2) The debtor's written statement that the debtor claims to be the victim of identity theft with respect to the specific debt being collected by the debt collector. (b) The written statement described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall consist of any of the following: (1) A Federal Trade Commission's Affidavit of Identity Theft. (2) A written statement that contains the content of the Identity Theft Victim's Fraudulent Account Information Request offered to the public by the California Office of Privacy Protection. (3) A written statement that certifies that the representations are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of fact to the best knowledge and belief of the person submitting the certification. A person submitting the certification who declares as true any material matter pursuant to this subdivision that he or she knows to be false is guilty of a misdemeanor. The statement shall contain or be accompanied by the following, to the extent that an item listed below is relevant to the debtor's allegation of identity theft with respect to the debt in question: (A) A statement that the debtor is a victim of identity theft. (B) A copy of the debtor's driver's license or identification card, as issued by the state. (C) Any other identification document that supports the statement of identity theft. (D) Specific facts supporting the claim of identity theft, if available. (E) Any explanation showing that the debtor did not incur the debt. (F) Any available correspondence disputing the debt after transaction information has been provided to the debtor. (G) Documentation of the residence of the debtor at the time of the alleged debt. This may include copies of bills and statements, such as utility bills, tax statements, or other statements from businesses sent to the debtor, showing that the debtor lived at another residence at the time the debt was incurred. (H) A telephone number for contacting the debtor concerning any additional information or questions, or direction that further communications to the debtor be in writing only, with the mailing address specified in the statement. (I) To the extent the debtor has information concerning who may have incurred the debt, the identification of any person whom the debtor believes is responsible. (J) An express statement that the debtor did not authorize the use of the debtor's name or personal information for incurring the debt. (K) The certification required pursuant to this paragraph shall be sufficient if it is in substantially the following form:
"I certify the representations made are true, correct, and contain no material omissions of fact. __________________ _____________ " (Date and Place) (Signature)
(c) If a debtor notifies a debt collector orally that he or she is a victim of identity theft, the debt collector shall notify the debtor, orally or in writing, that the debtor's claim must be in writing. If a debtor notifies a debt collector in writing that he or she is a victim of identity theft, but omits information required pursuant to subdivision (a) or, if applicable, the certification required pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), if the debt collector does not cease collection activities, the debt collector shall provide written notice to the debtor of the additional information that is required, or the certification required pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), as applicable, or send the debtor a copy of the Federal Trade Commission's Affidavit of Identity Theft form. (d) Upon receipt of the complete statement and information described in subdivision (a), the debt collector shall review and consider all of the information provided by the debtor and other information available to the debt collector in its file or from the creditor. The debt collector may recommence debt collection activities only upon making a good faith determination that the information does not establish that the debtor is not responsible for the specific debt in question. The debt collector's determination shall be made in a manner consistent with the provisions of subsection (1) of Section 1692 of Title 15 of the United States Code, as incorporated by Section 1788.17 of this code. The debt collector shall notify the debtor in writing of that determination and the basis for that determination before proceeding with any further collection activities. The debt collector's determination shall be based on all of the information provided by the debtor and other information available to the debt collector in its file or from the creditor. (e) No inference or presumption that the debt is valid or invalid, or that the debtor is liable or not liable for the debt, shall arise if the debt collector decides after the review described in subdivision (d) to cease or recommence the debt collection activities. The exercise or nonexercise of rights under this section is not a waiver of any other right or defense of the debtor or debt collector. (f) The statement and supporting documents that comply with subdivision (a) may also satisfy, to the extent those documents meet the requirements of, the notice requirement of paragraph (5) of subdivision (c) of Section 1798.93. (g) A debt collector who ceases collection activities under this section and does not recommence those collection activities shall do all of the following: (1) If the debt collector has furnished adverse information to a consumer credit reporting agency, notify the agency to delete that information. (2) Notify the creditor that debt collection activities have been terminated based upon the debtor's claim of identity theft. (h) A debt collector who has possession of documents that the debtor is entitled to request from a creditor pursuant to Section 530.8 of the Penal Code is authorized to provide those documents to the debtor. (i) Notwithstanding subdivision (h) of Section 1788.2, for the purposes of this section, "debtor" means a natural person, firm, association, organization, partnership, business trust, company, corporation, or limited liability company from which a debt collector seeks to collect a debt that is due and owing or alleged to be due and owing from the person or entity. The remedies provided by this title shall apply equally to violations of this section.
CIVIL CODE SECTION 1788.20-1788.22
1788.20. In connection with any request or application for consumer credit, no person shall: (a) Request or apply for such credit at a time when such person knows there is no reasonable probability of such person's being able, or such person then lacks the intention, to pay the obligation created thereby in accordance with the terms and conditions of the credit extension; or (b) Knowingly submit false or inaccurate information or willfully conceal adverse information bearing upon such person's credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit capacity.
1788.21. (a) In connection with any consumer credit existing or requested to be extended to a person, such person shall within a reasonable time notify the creditor or prospective creditor of any change in such person's name, address, or employment. (b) Each responsibility set forth in subdivision (a) shall apply only if and after the creditor clearly and conspicuously in writing discloses such responsibility to such person.
1788.22. (a) In connection with any consumer credit extended to a person under an account: (1) No such person shall attempt to consummate any consumer credit transaction thereunder knowing that credit privileges under the account have been terminated or suspended. (2) Each such person shall notify the creditor by telephone, telegraph, letter, or any other reasonable means that an unauthorized use of the account has occurred or may occur as the result of loss or theft of a credit card, or other instrument identifying the account, within a reasonable time after such person's discovery thereof, and shall reasonably assist the creditor in determining the facts and circumstances relating to any unauthorized use of the account. (b) Each responsibility set forth in subdivision (a) shall apply only if and after the creditor clearly and conspicuously in writing discloses such responsibility to such person.
CIVIL CODE SECTION 1788.30-1788.33
1788.30. (a) Any debt collector who violates this title with respect to any debtor shall be liable to that debtor only in an individual action, and his liability therein to that debtor shall be in an amount equal to the sum of any actual damages sustained by the debtor as a result of the violation. (b) Any debt collector who willfully and knowingly violates this title with respect to any debtor shall, in addition to actual damages sustained by the debtor as a result of the violation, also be liable to the debtor only in an individual action, and his additional liability therein to that debtor shall be for a penalty in such amount as the court may allow, which shall not be less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor greater than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (c) In the case of any action to enforce any liability under this title, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs of the action. Reasonable attorney's fees, which shall be based on time necessarily expended to enforce the liability, shall be awarded to a prevailing debtor; reasonable attorney's fees may be awarded to a prevailing creditor upon a finding by the court that the debtor's prosecution or defense of the action was not in good faith. (d) A debt collector shall have no civil liability under this title if, within 15 days either after discovering a violation which is able to be cured, or after the receipt of a written notice of such violation, the debt collector notifies the debtor of the violation, and makes whatever adjustments or corrections are necessary to cure the violation with respect to the debtor. (e) A debt collector shall have no civil liability to which such debt collector might otherwise be subject for a violation of this title, if the debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such violation. (f) Any action under this section may be brought in any appropriate court of competent jurisdiction in an individual capacity only, within one year from the date of the occurrence of the violation. (g) Any intentional violation of the provisions of this title by the debtor may be raised as a defense by the debt collector, if such violation is pertinent or relevant to any claim or action brought against the debt collector by or on behalf of the debtor.
1788.31. If any provision of this title, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the remaining provisions of this title, or the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.
1788.32. The remedies provided herein are intended to be cumulative and are in addition to any other procedures, rights, or remedies under any other provision of law. The enactment of this title shall not supersede existing administrative regulations of the Director of Consumer Affairs except to the extent that those regulations are inconsistent with the provisions of this title.
1788.33. Any waiver of the provisions of this title is contrary to public policy, and is void and unenforceable.
CIVIL CODE SECTION 1788.50-1788.64
1788.50. (a) As used in this title: (1) "Debt buyer" means a person or entity that is regularly engaged in the business of purchasing charged-off consumer debt for collection purposes, whether it collects the debt itself, hires a third party for collection, or hires an attorney-at-law for collection litigation. "Debt buyer" does not mean a person or entity that acquires a charged-off consumer debt incidental to the purchase of a portfolio predominantly consisting of consumer debt that has not been charged off. (2) "Charged-off consumer debt" means a consumer debt that has been removed from a creditor's books as an asset and treated as a loss or expense. (b) The acquisition by a check services company of the right to collect on a paper or electronic check instrument, including an Automated Clearing House item, that has been returned unpaid to a merchant does not constitute a purchase of delinquent consumer debt under this title. (c) Terms defined in Title 1.6C (commencing with Section 1788) shall apply to this title. (d) This title shall apply to debt buyers with respect to all consumer debt sold or resold on or after January 1, 2014.
1788.52. (a) A debt buyer shall not make any written statement to a debtor in an attempt to collect a consumer debt unless the debt buyer possesses the following information: (1) That the debt buyer is the sole owner of the debt at issue or has authority to assert the rights of all owners of the debt. (2) The debt balance at charge off and an explanation of the amount, nature, and reason for all post-charge-off interest and fees, if any, imposed by the charge-off creditor or any subsequent purchasers of the debt. This paragraph shall not be deemed to require a specific itemization, but the explanation shall identify separately the charge-off balance, the total of any post-charge-off interest, and the total of any post-charge-off fees. (3) The date of default or the date of the last payment. (4) The name and an address of the charge-off creditor at the time of charge off, and the charge-off creditor's account number associated with the debt. The charge-off creditor's name and address shall be in sufficient form so as to reasonably identify the charge-off creditor. (5) The name and last known address of the debtor as they appeared in the charge-off creditor's records prior to the sale of the debt. If the debt was sold prior to January 1, 2014, the name and last known address of the debtor as they appeared in the debt owner's records on December 31, 2013, shall be sufficient. (6) The names and addresses of all persons or entities that purchased the debt after charge off, including the debt buyer making the written statement. The names and addresses shall be in sufficient form so as to reasonably identify each such purchaser. (b) A debt buyer shall not make any written statement to a debtor in an attempt to collect a consumer debt unless the debt buyer has access to a copy of a contract or other document evidencing the debtor's agreement to the debt. If the claim is based on debt for which no signed contract or agreement exists, the debt buyer shall have access to a copy of a document provided to the debtor while the account was active, demonstrating that the debt was incurred by the debtor. For a revolving credit account, the most recent monthly statement recording a purchase transaction, last payment, or balance transfer shall be deemed sufficient to satisfy this requirement. (c) A debt buyer shall provide the information or documents identified in subdivisions (a) and (b) to the debtor without charge within 15 calendar days of receipt of a debtor's written request for information regarding the debt or proof of the debt. If the debt buyer cannot provide the information or documents within 15 calendar days, the debt buyer shall cease all collection of the debt until the debt buyer provides the debtor the information or documents described in subdivisions (a) and (b). Except as provided otherwise in this title, the request by the debtor shall be consistent with the validation requirements contained in Section 1692g of Title 15 of the United States Code. A debt buyer shall provide all debtors with whom it has contact an active postal address to which these requests can be sent. A debt buyer may also provide an active email address to which these requests can be sent and through which information and documents can be delivered, if the parties agree. (d) (1) A debt buyer shall include with its first written communication with the debtor in no smaller than 12-point type, a separate prominent notice that provides:
"You may request records showing the following: (1) that [insert name of debt buyer] has the right to seek collection of the debt; (2) the debt balance, including an explanation of any interest charges and additional fees; (3) the date of default or the date of the last payment; (4) the name of the charge-off creditor and the account number associated with the debt; (5) the name and last known address of the debtor as it appeared in the charge-off creditor's or debt buyer's records prior to the sale of the debt, as appropriate; and (6) the names of all persons or entities that have purchased the debt. You may also request from us a copy of the contract or other document evidencing your agreement to the debt. "A request for these records may be addressed to: [insert debt buyer's active mailing address and email address, if applicable]."
(2) When collecting on a time-barred debt where the debt is not past the date for obsolescence provided for in Section 605(a) of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681c):
"The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it. If you do not pay the debt, [insert name of debt buyer] may [continue to] report it to the credit reporting agencies as unpaid for as long as the law permits this reporting."
(3) When collecting on a time-barred debt where the debt is past the date for obsolescence provided for in Section 605(a) of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681c):
"The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it, and we will not report it to any credit reporting agency."
(e) If a language other than English is principally used by the debt buyer in the initial oral contact with the debtor, the notice required by subdivision (d) shall be provided to the debtor in that language within five working days. (f) In the event of a conflict between the requirements of subdivision (d) and federal law, so that it is impracticable to comply with both, the requirements of federal law shall prevail.
1788.54. (a) All settlement agreements between a debt buyer and a debtor shall be documented in open court or otherwise reduced to writing. The debt buyer shall ensure that a copy of the written agreement is provided to the debtor. (b) A debt buyer that receives payment on a debt shall provide, within 30 calendar days, a receipt or monthly statement, to the debtor. The receipt or statement shall clearly and conspicuously show the amount and date paid, the name of the entity paid, the current account number, the name of the charge-off creditor, the account number issued by the charge-off creditor, and the remaining balance owing, if any. The receipt or statement may be provided electronically if the parties agree. (c) A debt buyer that accepts a payment as payment in full, or as a full and final compromise of the debt, shall provide, within 30 calendar days, a final statement that complies with subdivision (b). A debt buyer shall not sell an interest in a resolved debt, or any personal or financial information related to the resolved debt.
1788.56. A debt buyer shall not bring suit or initiate an arbitration or other legal proceeding to collect a consumer debt if the applicable statute of limitations on the debt buyer's claim has expired.
1788.58. In an action brought by a debt buyer on a consumer debt: (a) The complaint shall allege all of the following: (1) That the plaintiff is a debt buyer. (2) The nature of the underlying debt and the consumer transaction or transactions from which it is derived, in a short and plain statement. (3) That the debt buyer is the sole owner of the debt at issue, or has authority to assert the rights of all owners of the debt. (4) The debt balance at charge off and an explanation of the amount, nature, and reason for all post-charge-off interest and fees, if any, imposed by the charge-off creditor or any subsequent purchasers of the debt. This paragraph shall not be deemed to require a specific itemization, but the explanation shall identify separately the charge-off balance, the total of any post-charge-off interest, and the total of any post-charge-off fees. (5) The date of default or the date of the last payment. (6) The name and an address of the charge-off creditor at the time of charge off, and the charge-off creditor's account number associated with the debt. The charge-off creditor's name and address shall be in sufficient form so as to reasonably identify the charge-off creditor. (7) The name and last known address of the debtor as they appeared in the charge-off creditor's records prior to the sale of the debt. If the debt was sold prior to January 1, 2014, the debtor's name and last known address as they appeared in the debt owner's records on December 31, 2013, shall be sufficient. (8) The names and addresses of all persons or entities that purchased the debt after charge off, including the plaintiff debt buyer. The names and addresses shall be in sufficient form so as to reasonably identify each such purchaser. (9) That the debt buyer has complied with Section 1788.52. (b) A copy of the contract or other document described in subdivision (b) of Section 1788.52, shall be attached to the complaint. (c) The requirements of this title shall not be deemed to require the disclosure in public records of personal, financial, or medical information, the confidentiality of which is protected by any state or federal law.
1788.60. (a) In an action initiated by a debt buyer, no default or other judgment may be entered against a debtor unless business records, authenticated through a sworn declaration, are submitted by the debt buyer to the court to establish the facts required to be alleged by paragraphs (3) to (8), inclusive, of subdivision (a) of Section 1788.58. (b) No default or other judgment may be entered against a debtor unless a copy of the contract or other document described in subdivision (b) of Section 1788.52, authenticated through a sworn declaration, has been submitted by the debt buyer to the court. (c) In any action on a consumer debt, if a debt buyer plaintiff seeks a default judgment and has not complied with the requirements of this title, the court shall not enter a default judgment for the plaintiff and may, in its discretion, dismiss the action. (d) Except as provided in this title, this section is not intended to modify or otherwise amend the procedures established in Section 585 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
1788.62. (a) In the case of an action brought by an individual or individuals, a debt buyer that violates any provision of this title with respect to any person shall be liable to that person in an amount equal to the sum of the following: (1) Any actual damages sustained by that person as a result of the violation, including, but not limited to, the amount of any judgment obtained by the debt buyer as a result of a time-barred suit to collect a debt from that person. (2) Statutory damages in an amount as the court may allow, which shall not be less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor greater than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (b) In the case of a class action, a debt buyer that violates any provision of this title shall be liable for any statutory damages for each named plaintiff as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a). If the court finds that the debt buyer engaged in a pattern and practice of violating any provision of this title, the court may award additional damages to the class in an amount not to exceed the lesser of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or 1 percent of the net worth of the debt buyer. (c) (1) In the case of any successful action to enforce liability under this section, the court shall award costs of the action, together with reasonable attorney's fees as determined by the court. (2) Reasonable attorney's fees may be awarded to a prevailing debt buyer upon a finding by the court that the plaintiff's prosecution of the action was not in good faith. (d) In determining the amount of liability under subdivision (b), the court shall consider, among other relevant factors, the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt buyer, the nature of the noncompliance, the resources of the debt buyer, and the number of persons adversely affected. (e) A debt buyer shall have no civil liability under this section if the debt buyer shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error, and occurred notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adopted to avoid any error. (f) An action to enforce any liability created by this title shall be brought within one year from the date of the last violation. (g) Recovery in an action brought under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Title 1.6C (commencing with Section 1788)) or the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692 et seq.) shall preclude recovery for the same acts in an action brought under this title.
1788.64. Any waiver of the provisions of this title is contrary to public policy, and is void and unenforceable.