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Dreher Tomkies LLP
Attorneys at Law
2750 Huntington Center
41 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: 614-628-8000
Fax: 614-628-1600

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The Board of Directors for ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (“ACA”), recently updated its Code of Ethics. ACA’s members, which include collection professionals, asset buyers, attorneys, creditors and vendors in more than 55 countries, are required to abide by the Code of Ethics in order to qualify and maintain a membership in the ACA. The updated Code of Ethics establishes a higher standard of conduct by, among other things:

  • Requiring members to designate a contact person to deal with consumer complaints;
  • Requiring members that are debt collectors to suspend collection activities on an account and provide verification upon receipt of a written verification request. Unlike the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), the Code of Ethics requires members to comply with this requirement even if the verification request is received outside of the 30-day validation period established by the FDCPA;
  • Requiring members that do not or cannot verify a debt as described above to cease all collection efforts and take certain action (e.g., direct or request removal of the item from the consumer’s credit report or report the item as disputed to the appropriate credit reporting agency);
  • Requiring members, in instances of identity theft, fraud or mistaken identity, to conduct a reasonable investigation to determine the validity of the debt, the identity of the obligor on the account and the accuracy of the information in the member’s possession;
  • Prohibiting members from threatening or initiating collection litigation on time-barred debts;
  • Requiring members to seek to obtain access to accurate and complete information about any purchased accounts and obtain evidence of the chain of title to the purchased debts; and
  • Requiring members to use reasonable efforts to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity and availability of consumer information entrusted to the member’s possession and control.

The complete Code of Ethics can be viewed online at www.acainternational.org/images/11098/ethicspowerpoint(11-27-07).ppt.

  • Margaret Stolar and Charles Gall