Collecting a Debt From a Consumer Where an Attorney is Required to be Licensed to Collect a Consumer Debt

Attorneys who are engaged in consumer debt collection work are subject to The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you are such an attorney who does collection work and you decide to send the collection letter to a consumer (or one who may be considered to be a consumer), who resides in a State which requires licensing of that attorney, you should be aware of each State’s licensing requirement. Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and New York are some of the states that currently require licensing by an attorney seeking to collect a consumer debt. A violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was found to exist where an attorney is not licensed in the State where the debtor resided. (Newman v. Checkrite California Inc., 912 F. Supp. 1354 (E. D. Cal. 1995)

If you are a collection attorney and you decide to send the collection letter to a consumer who resides in one of those States which requires licensing, the following language should be added to your demand letter and is suggested as a protective device: “If we do not hear from you, we will advise the creditor as to its legal rights to collect the sum from you. Should the creditor decide to pursue its legal remedies in court, this matter will be forwarded to an attorney licensed in your State of residence for further proceedings.”