Commercial-Debt Collection Statutes for OREGON:
[Applicable to Unlawful Debt Collection Practices] (1) As used in subsection (2) of this section:
(a) “Consumer” means a natural person who purchases or acquires property, services or credit for
personal, family or household purposes.
(b) “Consumer transaction” means a transaction between a consumer and a person who sells, leases or provides property, services or credit to consumers.
(c) “Commercial creditor” means a person who in the ordinary course of business engages in consumer transactions.
(d) “Credit” means the right granted by a creditor to a consumer to defer payment of a debt, to incur a debt and defer its payment, or to purchase or acquire property or services and defer payment therefor.
(e) “Debt” means any obligation or alleged obligation arising out of a consumer transaction. (f) “Debtor” means a consumer who owes or allegedly owes an obligation arising out of a consumer transaction.
(g) “Debt collector” means any person who by any direct or indirect action, conduct or practice,
enforces or attempts to enforce an obligation that is owed or due to any commercial creditor, or alleged to be owed or due to any commercial creditor, by a consumer as a result of a consumer transaction.
(h) “Person” means an individual, corporation, trust, partnership, incorporated or unincorporated association or any other legal entity.
Or. Rev. Stat. § 646.639(1) (West, WESTLAW through End of the 2003 Reg. Sess.).
[Applicable to Registration to Operate as a Collection Agency] As used in ORS 697.005 to 697.095:
(1)(a) “Collection agency” means:
(A) A person directly or indirectly engaged in soliciting a claim for collection, or collecting or attempting to collect a claim that is owed, due or asserted to be owed or due to another person or to a public body at the time the person solicits, collects or attempts to collect the claim;
(B) A person that directly or indirectly furnishes, attempts to furnish, sells or offers to sell forms represented to be a collection system even if the forms direct the debtor to make payment to the creditor and even if the forms may be or are actually used by the creditor in the creditor’s own name;
(C) A person that, in attempting to collect or in collecting the person’s own claim uses a fictitious name or any name other than the person’s own that indicates to the debtor that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect the claim;
(D) A person in the business of engaging in the solicitation of the right to repossess or in the repossession of collateral security due or asserted to be due to another person; or
(E) A person that in the collection of claims from another person:
(i) Uses any name other than the name regularly used in the conduct of the business out of which the claim arose; and
(ii) Engages in any action or conduct that tends to convey the impression that a third
party has been employed or engaged to collect the claim.
(2) “Collection system” means a scheme intended or calculated to be used to collect claims sent, prepared or delivered by:
(a) A person who in collecting or attempting to collect the person’s own claim uses a fictitious name or any name other than the person’s own that indicates to the debtor that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect the claim; or
(b) A person directly or indirectly engaged in soliciting claims for collection, or collecting or attempting to collect claims owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another person.
(3) “Claim” means an obligation for the payment of money or thing of value arising out of an agreement or contract, express or implied.
(4) “Client” or “customer” means a person authorizing or employing a collection agency to collect a claim.
(5) “Debtor” means a person owing or alleged to owe a claim.
(6) “Debts incurred outside this state” means an action or proceeding that:
(a) Arises out of a promise, made anywhere to the plaintiff or a third party for the plaintiff’s benefit, by the defendant to perform services outside of this state or to pay for services to be performed outside of this state by the plaintiff;
(b) Arises out of services actually performed for the plaintiff by the defendant outside of this state or services actually performed for the defendant by the plaintiff outside of this state, if the performance outside of this state was authorized or ratified by the defendant;
(c) Arises out of a promise, made anywhere to the plaintiff or a third party for the plaintiff’s benefit, by the defendant to deliver or receive outside of this state or to send from outside of this state goods, documents of title or other things of value;
(d) Relates to goods, documents of title or other things of value sent from outside of this state by
the defendant to the plaintiff or a third person on the plaintiff’s order or direction;
(e) Relates to goods, documents of title or other things of value actually received outside of this state by the plaintiff from the defendant or by the defendant from the plaintiff, without regard to where delivery to carrier occurred; or
(f) Where jurisdiction at the time the debt was incurred was outside of this state.
(7) “Out-of-state collection agency” means a collection agency located outside of this state whose activities within this state are limited to collecting debts incurred outside of this state from debtors
located in this state. As used in this subsection, “collecting debts” means collecting by means of interstate communications, including telephone, mail or facsimile transmission from the collection agency location in another state on behalf of clients located outside of this state.
Or. Rev. Stat. § 697.005(1)(a) (West, WESTLAW through 2009 Reg. Sess.).
(b) “Collection agency” does not include:
(A) An individual engaged in soliciting claims for collection, or collecting or attempting to collect
claims on behalf of a registrant under Oregon Revised Statutes sections 697.005 to 697.095, if the individual is an employee of the registrant.
(B) An individual collecting or attempting to collect claims for not more than three employers, if all collection efforts are carried on in the name of the employer and the individual is an employee of the employer.
(C) A person that prepares or mails monthly or periodic statements of accounts due on behalf of another person if all payments are made to the other person and no other collection efforts are made by the person preparing the statements of accounts.
(D) An attorney-at-law rendering services in the performance of the duties of an attorney-at-law.
(E) A licensed certified public accountant or public accountant rendering services in the performance of the duties of a licensed certified public accountant or public accountant.
(F) A bank, mutual savings bank, consumer finance company, trust company, savings and loan
association, credit union or debt consolidation agency.
(G) A real estate licensee or escrow agent licensed under the provisions of ORS chapter 696, as to any collection or billing activity involving a real estate transaction or collection escrow transaction of the licensee or escrow agent.
(H) An individual regularly employed as a credit person or in a similar capacity by one person, firm or corporation that is not a collection agency as defined in this section.
(I) A public officer or a person acting under order of a court.
(J) A person acting as a property manager in collecting or billing for rent, fees, deposits or other sums due landlords of managed units.
(K) A person that is providing billing services. A person is providing billing services for the purposes of this subparagraph if the person engages, directly or indirectly, in the business or pursuit of collection of claims for another person whether in the other person’s name or any other name, by
any means that:
(i) Is an accounting procedure, preparation of mail billing or any other means intended to accelerate cash flow to the other person’s bank account or to any separate trust account; and
(ii) Does not include any personal contact or contact by telephone with the person from whom the claim is sought to be collected.
(L) A person that is providing factoring services. A person is providing
factoring services for the purposes of this subparagraph if the person engages, directly or indirectly, in the business or pursuit of:
(i) Lending or advancing money to commercial clients on the security of merchandise or accounts receivable and then enforcing collection actions or procedures on such accounts; or
(ii) Soliciting or collecting on accounts that have been purchased from commercial clients under an agreement whether or not the agreement:
(I) Allows recourse against the commercial client;
(II) Requires the commercial client to provide any form of guarantee of payment of the purchased account; or
(III) Requires the commercial client to establish or maintain a reserve account in any form.
(M) An individual employed by another person that operates as a collection agency if the person does not operate as a collection agency independent of that employment.
(N) A mortgage banker as defined in Oregon Revised Statutes section 59.840. (O) A public utility, as defined in Oregon Revised Statute section 757.005, a telecommunications utility, as defined in Oregon Revised Statute section 759.005, a people’s utility district, as defined in Oregon Revised Statutes section 261.010, and a cooperative corporation
engaged in furnishing electric or communication service to consumers.
(P) A public body or an individual collecting or attempting to collect claims owed, due or asserted tobe owed or due to a public body, if the individual is an employee of the public body.
(Q) A person that receives an assignment of debt in any form without an obligation to pay the assignor any of the proceeds resulting from a collection of all or a portion of the debt.
(R) A person for whom the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services determines by order or by rule that the protection of the public health, safety and welfare does not require registration with the department as a collection agency.
Or. Rev. Stat. § 697.005(1)(b) (West, WESTLAW through 2009 Reg. Sess.).
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.
- 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).