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Collection Service Board

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

 

Becoming licensed:

Who is required to be licensed?
How do I obtain a license?
How long will it take to process my application?
I am licensed in another state and want to operate in Tennessee. Do you have reciprocity agreements with other states?

Changes in license status:

How do I renew a license?
How far in advance of expiration date should my renewal be completed?
I let my license expire. How do I have it reinstated?

Change of Address/other key information:

Am I required to notify the board if I change my address?

Complaints:

How do I file a complaint against a company/individual?
What happens after I file a complaint?
What can the state do if I have a legitimate grievance?

Misc.:

How do I determine if a company is licensed?

Do commercial debt collectors have to be licensed in Tennessee?

I am on the "Do Not Call" list. Are debt collectors allowed to telephone me?
How can I get the forms I need?
How do I know when and where regulatory boards meet?
Does this board have a newsletter to which I can subscribe?


Who is required to be licensed?

Any individual (or entity) that commences, conducts, or operates any collection service business in the State of Tennessee, except:

  • Any person handling claims, accounts, or collections under order of any court
  • Attorneys at law
  • Any person engaged in the collection of indebtedness incurred in the normal course of business or the business of a parent, subsidiary, or affiliated firm or corporation; however, no person who is or represents such person to be a collection service is exempt


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How do I obtain a license?

To apply for a collection agency license, the applicant must submit the following:

 

  • A non-refundable $150 application fee
  • A completed application (all questions answered, form signed and notarized)
  • A current personal or corporate financial statement prepared by a licensed public accountant or certified public accountant indicating that the company maintains a separate fiduciary or trust bank account with sufficient funds at all times to disburse such amounts as due all clients. (Refer to TCA 62-20-114) and, the financial statement must reflect that it is a financial responsible agency as per TCA 62-20-102(5).
  • A surety bond executed by the applicant and a surety company authorized to do business in the State of Tennessee, made payable to the State of Tennessee. The amount of the surety bond shall be pro rated and based on the certified number of employees per agency as follows:
    • 1-4 employees -- $15,000
    • 5-9 employees -- $20,000
    • 10 or more employees -- $25,000
  • A certificated of deposit may be substituted for the bond in the amounts above
  • A satisfactory proposed budget of monthly operating expenses for the first six (6) months of operation
  • Proof of a licensed location manager
  • Upon approval by the Collection Service Board, a $600 registration fee and $25 for each solicitor will be required before a license can be issued.  Any person acting as a solicitor for any collection service must possess a valid solicitor’s identification card.


A licensed collection agency phyically located in the State of Tennessee that desires to maintain a branch in addition to the principal place of business must submit a branch application for each branch office located in Tennessee.

Applications for collection branches must be accompanied by $100 registration fee and $25 for each solicitor.

 

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How long will it take to process my application?

Once an application is received and all fees are processed, it must be reviewed by the Collection Service Board for approval. The Board meets every other month.

Upon approval, a collection service applicant must submit a $600 registration fee. Once the fee has been processed, a license will be issued.


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I am licensed in another state and want to operate in Tennessee. Do you have reciprocity agreements with other states? Which states?

Tennessee does not currently have any reciprocity agreements with other states.

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How do I renew a license?

All licenses and identification cards expire two (2) years from the date of issuance. Renewal notices are mailed sixty (60) days prior to the expiration of the license.

To renew a collection service agency or branch license, a completed renewal application and the following must be received prior to the expiration date:

  • $350 renewal fee
  • $25 for each solicitor
  • Proof that the statutorily required bond has been renewed.  Check our Web site for bond amounts based on the number of employees
  • Balance sheet prepared by a licensed public accountant or certified public account, Tenn. Code Ann. §62-20-112(3)
  • Proof of business tax (Tennessee-based companies only).


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How far in advance of expiration date should my renewal be completed?

Renewal applications are mailed sixty (60) days prior to a license’s expiration and must be received prior to expiration.

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I let my license expire. How do I have it reinstated?

All licenses are subject to late renewal for sixty (60) days following the license expiration date. A penalty of $100 will be assessed on all late renewals. Licensees failing to complete all requirements, pay renewal fee, and penalty within sixty (60) days after the expiration date must submit a new application.


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Am I required to notify the board if I change my address?

Yes, a fee to change addresses is not required. An agency must submit a written notification, an amended surety bond, and an amended corporate bond to the Collection Service Board.


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How do I file a complaint against a company?

Complete and submit a complaint form.  You can download a form or file online, request a form at 615 741-1741. All complaints must be notarized.

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What happens after I file a complaint?

Within fourteen (14) days of receipt of your complaint form, the board office will send a request for a written response to the allegations in your complaint. The respondent will have twenty (20) days to respond.

The complaint and response will be forwarded to our legal counsel for presentation to the Tennessee Collection Service Board, which has the sole authority to determine the appropriate action.  You will be notified in writing of the board’s determination.

The Collection Service Board cannot recover or order the refund of any money to which you may be entitled.  You should seek private counsel for advice on how to proceed with action in matters concerning a lawsuit.

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What can the state do if I have a legitimate grievance?

If you have a grievance against a person or business regulated by the Collection Service Board, you can file a complaint with our office or may consider consulting legal counsel.

If the State considers your grievance to be legitimate, the State may choose to seek disciplinary sanctions against a person or business regulated by the Collection Service Board (such as seeking civil penalties, or suspension, or revocation of the license).  In all instances, though, the State does not represent or advocate for your private interests. The State pursues matters believed to be in the best interests of the public.

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How do I determine if an company is licensed?

License Search is available online.

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Do commercial debt collectors have to be licensed in Tennessee?

Yes. It is currently the opinion of the Tennessee Collection Service Board that the Tennessee Collection Service Act requires debt collectors that engage in business-to-business collection (i.e., commercial debt collections), to hold a collection service licnse and comply with all other provisions of the Act.


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I am on the "Do Not Call" list. Are debt collectors allowed to telephone me?


Generally speaking, if a debt collector is attempting to contact an individual who owes or who is believed (by the individual's creditor) to owe a debt, the debt collector may legally contact the individual by phone to solicit payment of the debt. The fact that the individuals' name appears on state or federal "do not call" lists will typically not affect the rights of companies that the individual is obligated to pay (i.e., creditors or debt collectors).


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How can I get the forms I need?


You can download forms from our Web site or request by phone (615) 741-1741.

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How do I know when and where regulatory boards meet?

Meeting announcements are posted on our Web site.

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Does this board have a newsletter to which I can subscribe?

No

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