Collection Laws and Collection Agency Lists for United States
Every state has its own set of rules pertaining to collection agencies. Some are required to be bonded and licensed while others may not. When you're dealing with a collection agency you'll need to know the laws for the collection agency in their state. This collection agency list can benefit you in a number of ways.
1.) See if they have to be licenced and bonded
If they are required to be bonded and or licensed and are not, you can use that information as leverage in disputing a collection account. If the collection agency has not met licensing and bonding requirements for their state then you can use that to dispute their right to collect the debt.
2.) Registered Agents
If you are negotiating a collection account or disputing their right to report it to your credit reports then knowing how to contact the registered agent of the collection agency is critical. You don't want to send a cease and desist letter or a notice of dispute to just an employee who may not even acknowledge it.
A registered agent is the person responsible for representing the agency (Board and Officers) and is the one you'll want to send any communications to. By looking up the registered agent of a collection agency you can quickly get the contact information for the person in charge of the entire agency.
The best way to find the registered agent for a collection agency is through your state's government website. Locate your state's website in Google. (example: "State of california official website"). Look at this example of all the information you can find out about a collection agency from a State website.
Once you locate the website search their site for "Collection Practices". Usually you'll find a list of the requirements for the collection agency operating in that state. It may show you violations, fees paid or not paid, license requirements, what state's they are permitted to collect for and the registered agent. You can garner a lot of information using this method.
3.) Collection laws
Besides finding out if a collection agency requires licensing you can determine the collection laws for that state. By looking up a collection agency you can determine what the legal interest rates are, the statute of limitations for collecting the debt and bad check laws for the state.
Collection laws operate in two ways; State and Federal. Our federal government offers broad rules like the FCRA and FDCPA but a state law may offer more specific protection. Any time a state law offers more protection for you then it will trump federal law. This is extremely important because your state's FDCPA and FCRA may protect you more than the federal. It's a good idea to review both state and federal and compare protection. You can read the federal FDCPA and FCRA through the FTC's website.
Click the map below to find a collection agency by state. Remember, you'll want to look up the state they operate in, not where you live. For a full list of your state's statutes and regulations, you can find those here.