Commercial Debt Collection Statutes for Maryland

Commercial-Debt Collection Statutes for



(a) In this title the following words have the meanings indicated. (c) “Collection agency” means a person who:

(1) engages directly or indirectly in the business of collecting for, or soliciting from another, a consumer claim;

(2) in collection of a consumer claim by its owner, uses a name or other artifice that indicates

that another party is attempting to collect the consumer claim;

(3) gives, sells, attempts to give or sell to another, or uses, for collection of a consumer claim, a series or system of forms or letters that indicates directly or indirectly that a person other than the owner is asserting the consumer claim;  or

(4) employs the services of an individual or business to solicit or sell a collection system to be used for collection of a consumer claim.

(e) “Consumer claim” means a claim that:

(1) is for money owed or said to be owed by a resident of the State;  and

(2) arises from a transaction in which, for a family, household, or personal purpose, the resident sought or got credit, money, personal property, real property, or services.

Md. Code Ann. Bus. Reg § 7-101(a),(c),(e) (West, WESTLAW through laws from the 2005 Reg. Sess. effective through July 1, 2005).



(b) This title does not apply to: (1) a bank;

(2) a federal or State credit union; (3) a mortgage lender;

(4) a person acting under an order of a court of competent jurisdiction;

(5) a licensed real estate broker, or an individual acting on behalf of the real estate broker, in the collection of rent or allied charges for property;

(6) a savings and loan association;

(7) a title company as to its escrow business; (8) a trust company;

(9) a lawyer who is collecting a debt for a client, unless the lawyer has an employee who:

(i) is not a lawyer;  and

(ii) is engaged primarily to solicit debts for collection or primarily makes contact with a

debtor to collect or adjust a debt through a procedure identified with the operation of a collection agency;  or

(10) a person who is collecting a debt for another person if: (i) both persons are related by common ownership;

(ii) the person who is collecting a debt does so only for those persons to whom it is related by common ownership;

(iii) the principal business of the person who is collecting a debt is not the collection of debts; and

(iv) before collecting a debt, the person files with the Board:

1. the correct name of the person;

2. an address and telephone number of a contact person;  and

3. the name of the person’s resident agent.

Md. Code Ann. Bus. Reg § 7-102(b) (West, WESTLAW through laws from the 2005 Reg. Sess. effective through July 1, 2005).

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The U.S. Congress enacted the FDCPA in 1977 and added it to the Consumer Credit Protection Act in 1978. Its purpose is to eliminate abusive practices of third-party debt collectors. To that end, the Act establishes guidelines for the conduct of debt collectors, defines the rights of consumers, and prescribes penalties for violations.

The FDCPA defines “debt collectors” as “any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debt … asserted to be owed or due another.”

In other words, “debt collectors” are defined as third parties collecting for a creditor. (As of a 1986 amendment, the FDCPA definition of “debt collector” also includes attorneys who collect debts on a regular basis.)

“Consumers” and “debt” covered under the FDCPA are defined as specifically referring to personal, family or household transactions. Therefore, debts owed by businesses or by individuals for business purposes (commercial debts) are not subject to the FDCPA.

So, if the FDCPA does not apply to commercial debt collection by third parties, how are commercial collectors regulated?

There are no U.S. federal laws, similar to the FDCPA, that regulate third-party commercial (business-to-business) debt collection or provide guidelines for the conduct of commercial debt collectors.

Who is protecting the rights of commercial creditors and debtors?

Commercial Collection Agency Association

The premier body governing the activities of commercial debt collectors is the Commercial Collection Agency Association (CCAA), an arm of the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA). These organizations are not government bodies, nor do they have any jurisdiction over non-members.  However, both require high standards of practice and ethics in order for a commercial collection agency to become a certified member.

The Commercial Collection Agency Association was established in 1972 to “improve the quality and reputation of the commercial collection industry.” It currently has more than 200 members. Approximately 100 core members represent the most prestigious commercial collection agencies in the United States.

The CCAA is an arm of the Commercial Law League of America (CLLA), the oldest creditor’s rights organization in the country established in 1895.

Membership in the CCAA

Members of the CCAA are the only collection agencies in the United States certified by the Commercial Law League of America. In order to obtain certification, the agency must meet rigorous criteria.

Certification Requirements

  • The agency must have been in business at least four years prior to application for membership.
  • 80% of the agency’s business must be commercial (business-to-business).
  • The agency must maintain a separate Trust Account into which all monies belonging to creditors are placed. This Trust Account is reviewed twice annually by the Executive Director of the CCAA.
  • The agency must agree to abide by the CCAA Code of Ethics, which sets ethical standards for dealing with creditors, debtors and attorneys.
  • Executives of the agency must meet continuing educational requirements and attend regular CCAA meetings. The member agency must complete sixty continuing educational credits annually.
  • The agency must post a surety bond of at least $300,000 for the protection of the creditors it serves.
  • One person in the agency must also be a member of the Commercial Law League of America.
  • The agency must agree to random periodic site visits from the CCAA Executive Director.
  • The agency must be in compliance with all local and state licensing requirements and regulations governing commercial collection firms.

Primarily, the Commercial Law League of America and its Commercial Collection Agency Association have assumed responsibility for looking after the needs and rights of creditors and their customers/debtors. State governments that require licensing and bonding of commercial debt collectors also play an important role.

However, since membership in the CCAA is not compulsory, and some firms may provide collection services in a state but never get licensed, it is up to creditors to ensure they (and their debtors) are receiving the most ethical and highest level of commercial collection service.

How? Check to see if your Agency is both a member of the Commercial Collection Agency Association and therefore certified by the Commercial Law League of America, and is licensed in the U.S. states requiring such licensing.

Burt And Associates is a member of both CCAA and CLLA.  Also, we are licensed in bonded in all 50 states (where required).