December 7, 2009
By Shaun Ertischek, Esq.
Collection agencies usually institute collection efforts by mailing collection letters to consumers. Debt collectors are required to make certain disclosures in their initial collection notice under federal law as well as under various state laws.
The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is one of these state laws. It specifies that: “[i]n its initial written communication to a consumer, a collection agency shall include the following statement: “FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLORADO FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT, SEE WWW.AGO.STATE.CO.US/CADC/CADCMAIN.CFM.” If the web site address is changed, the notification shall be corrected to contain the correct address. If the notification is placed on the back of the written communication, there shall be a statement on the front notifying the consumer of such fact.” See section 12-14-105(3)(c).
The Administrator of the Collection Agency Board investigates complaints about collection agencies and takes appropriate disciplinary or legal action when a collection agency has violated the law. The Administrator has issued a memorandum advising that the aforementioned web site address has changed to “WWW.COLORADOATTORNEYGENERAL.GOV/CA” and that the new web site address must used on the initial written communication to Colorado residents by January 1, 2010.
Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disciplinary action by the Collection Agency Board and will subject the debt collector to civil liability under section 12-14-113 of the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as civil liability under section 1692k of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practice Act.
If you are a Colorado resident and you receive an initial collection letter, it must contain the above disclosure statement with the new web site address. If a debt collector fails to include this language, our law firm can pursue them for monetary penalties available under the applicable laws.