58-70-15. Definition of collection agency and collection agency business.

(a) "Collection agency" means a person directly or indirectly engaged in soliciting, from more than one person delinquent claims of any kind owed or due or asserted to be owed or due the solicited person and all persons directly or indirectly engaged in the asserting, enforcing or prosecuting of those claims.

(b) "Collection agency" includes any of the following:

(1) Any person that procures a listing of delinquent debtors from any creditor and that sells the listing or otherwise receives any fee or benefit from collections made on the listing.

(2) Any person that attempts to or does transfer or sell to any person not holding the permit prescribed by this Article any system or series of letters or forms for use in the collection of delinquent accounts or claims which by direct assertion or by implication indicate that the claim or account is being asserted or collected by any person, firm, corporation, or association other than the creditor or owner of the claim or demand.

(3) An in-house collection agency, whereby a person, firm, corporation, or association sets up a collection service for his or its own business and the agency has a name other than that of the business.

(4) A "debt buyer." As used in this subdivision, the term "debt buyer" means a person or entity that is engaged in the business of purchasing delinquent or charged-off consumer loans or consumer credit accounts, or other delinquent consumer debt for collection purposes, whether it collects the debt itself or hires a third party for collection or an attorney-at-law for litigation in order to collect such debt.

(c) "Collection agency" does not mean:

(1) Regular employees of a single creditor;

(2) Banks, trust companies, or bank-owned, controlled or related firms, corporations or associations engaged in accounting, bookkeeping or data processing services where a primary component of such services is the rendering of statements of accounts and bookkeeping services for creditors;

(3) Mortgage banking companies;

(4) Savings and loan associations;

(5) Building and loan associations;

(6) Duly licensed real estate brokers and agents when the claims or accounts being handled by the broker or agent are related to or are in connection with the broker's or agent's regular real estate business;

(7) Express, telephone and telegraph companies subject to public regulation and supervision;

(8) Attorneys-at-law handling claims and collections in their own name and not operating a collection agency under the management of a layman;

(9) Any person, firm, corporation or association handling claims, accounts or collections under an order or orders of any court;

(10) A person, firm, corporation or association which, for valuable consideration purchases accounts, claims, or demands of another, which such accounts, claims, or demands of another are not delinquent at the time of such purchase, and then, in its own name, proceeds to assert or collect the accounts, claims or demands;

(11) Any person attempting to collect or collecting claims, in that person's name, of a business or businesses owned wholly or substantially by that person;

(12) Any nonprofit tax exempt corporation organized for the purpose of providing mediation or other dispute resolution services; and

(13) The designated representatives of programs as defined by G.S. 110-129(5). (1969, c. 906, s. 3; 1973, c. 785; 1979, c. 835; 1989, c. 441, ss. 4, 5, 12; 1991, c. 387, s. 1; 1993, c. 553, s. 22; 1999-419, s. 1; 2001-269, s. 1.2; 2009-573, s. 4(a).)