NEW MEMBERS BEING ADDED
Our directors has been kept busy visiting and investigating new member applications during the past few months. Our process includes a visit to the applicant and review of their policies and procedures. Roger Medlin has also been offering some in-house training for collectors and owners when necessary. It appears that some people are getting involved in the debt collection business who are not fully aware of the current regulations. The sending of the initial demand letter with the validation notice is required by all third party debt collectors. Every contact should include the "mini-miranda". Adding on of fees, interest, collection charges, etc. must be in accordance with what is provided. Some agencies have devised names to make the consumer believe they are a law firm. Although this may not be a direct violation of the FDCPA, it may be a violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. Names which use the owners name, like "Medlin and Associates" would be acceptable. But to use a name like "Cohen, Brinkman, Smith, and Associates" when there was no one by all those names, could be considered a violaiton. Also, in order to contact consumers in certain states for the purpose of debt collection, a license and often a bond is required.
Once the initial screening is complete, the director presents the name of the candidate to the board for approval. There are some who have not yet been approved due to some inconsistencies in the procedures and policies. The unit is endeavoring to provide assistance, to the degree possible, to help new agencies become members and follow current regulations and the ACA Code of Ethics. We also have expelled some members who have been in the media for unethical conduct as a debt collector and those who have been prosecuted to the degree that the unit and ACA feel compelled to seperate ourselves from such agencies.
The following agencies have been approved recently:
Jackson Green Group, College Park, GA