H. B. 2389
(By Delegates R. M. Thompson, Kominar and Morgan)
[Introduced January 17, 2003; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section two, article sixteen, chapter
forty-seven of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to collection
agencies; definitions; and adding additional persons who are
exempt from the definition of "collection agency".
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section two, article sixteen, chapter forty-seven of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 16. COLLECTION AGENCIES.
The following words and terms as used in this article shall be
construed as follows:
(a) "Claim" means any obligation for the payment of money due
or asserted to be due to another person, firm, corporation or association.
(b) "Collection Agency" means and includes all persons, firms,
corporations and associations: (1) Directly or indirectly engaged
in the business of soliciting from or collecting for others any
account, bill or indebtedness due or asserted to be owed or due
another and all persons, firms, corporations and associations
directly or indirectly engaged in asserting, enforcing or
prosecuting those claims; (2) which, in attempting to collect or in
collecting his, or her or its own accounts or claims uses a
fictitious name or names other than his, or her or its own name;
(3) which attempts to or does give away or sell to others any
system or series of letters or forms for use in the collection of
accounts or claims which assert or indicate directly or indirectly
that the claims or accounts are being asserted or collected by any
person, firm, corporation or association other than the creditor or
owner of the claim or account; or (4) directly or indirectly
engaged in the business of soliciting, or who holds himself or
herself out as engaged in the business of soliciting, debts of any
kind owed or due, or asserted to be owed or due, to any solicited
person, firm, corporation or association for fee, commission or
The term "collection agency" shall not mean or include: (1)
Regular employees of a single creditor or of a collection agency
licensed hereunder; (2) banks; (3) trust companies; (4) savings and loan associations; (5) building and loan associations; (6)
industrial loan companies; (7) small loan companies; (8) abstract
companies doing an escrow business; (9) duly licensed real estate
brokers or agents when the claims or accounts being handled by such
broker or agent are related to or in connection with such brokers'
or agents' regular real estate business; (10) express and telegraph
companies subject to public regulation and supervision; (11)
attorneys-at-law handling claims and collections in their own names
and not operating a collection agency under the management of a
or (12) any person, firm, corporation or association acting
under the order of any court of competent jurisdiction; or (13) any
person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of
whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate
control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for
persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal
business of that person is not the collection of debts.
(c) "Commissioner" means the state tax commissioner or his or
(d) "Customer" means any person, firm, corporation or
association who has filed, assigned or sold any claim or chose in
action with or to a collection agency for collection.
(e) "Licensee" means any person holding a business franchise
registration certificate under section two, article twelve, chapter
eleven of this code and under the provisions of this article.
(f) "Trust account" means a special account established by a
collection agency with a banking institution in this state, wherein
funds collected on behalf of a customer shall be deposited.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide an additional
exemption to the definition of "collection agency".
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would