2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 10 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 1 - SELLING AND OTHER TRADE PRACTICES
ARTICLE 15 - DECEPTIVE OR UNFAIR PRACTICES
PART 2 - FAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES ACT
§ 10-1-393.10 - Filing of contracts for collection; requirements for contracts; role of collector; cancellation of contract; forwarding of payments
. Filing of contracts for collection; requirements for contracts; role of collector; cancellation of contract; forwarding of payments
(a) Any contract for the collection of child support between a private child support collector and an obligee shall be filed by the private child support collector with the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs.
(b) Any contract for the collection of child support between a private child support collector and an obligee shall be in writing, in at least ten-point type, and signed by such private child support collector and obligee. The contract shall include:
(1) An explanation of the nature of the services to be provided;
(2) An explanation of the amount to be collected from the obligor by the private child support collector and a statement of a sum certain of the total amount that is to be collected by the private child support collector that has been engaged by the obligee;
(3) An explanation in dollar figures of the maximum amount of fees which could be collected under the contract and an example of how fees are calculated and deducted;
(4) A statement that fees shall only be charged for collecting past due child support, although the contract may include provisions to collect current and past due child support;
(5) A statement that a private child support collector shall not retain fees from collections that are primarily attributable to the actions of the department and that a private child support collector shall be required by law to refund any fees improperly retained;
(6) An explanation of the opportunities available to the obligee or private child support collector to cancel the contract or other conditions under which the contract terminates;
(7) The mailing address, telephone numbers, facsimile numbers, and e-mail address of the private child support collector;
(8) A statement that the private child support collector shall only collect money owed to the obligee and not child support assigned to the State of Georgia;
(9) A statement that the private child support collector is not a governmental entity and that the department provides child support enforcement services at little or no cost to the obligee; and
(10) A statement that the obligee may continue to use or pursue services through the department to collect child support.
(c) A private child support collector shall not:
(1) Improperly retain fees from collections that are primarily attributable to the actions of the department. If the department or an obligee notifies a private child support collector of such improper fee retention, such private child support collector shall refund such fees to the obligee within seven business days of the notification of the improper retention of fees and shall not be liable for such improper fee retention. A private child support collector may require documentation that the collection was primarily attributable to the actions of the department prior to issuing any refund;
(2) Charge fees in excess of one-third of the total amount of child support payments collected;
(3) Solicit obligees using marketing materials, advertisements, or representations reasonably calculated to create a false impression or mislead an obligee into believing the private child support collector is affiliated with the department or any other governmental entity;
(4) Use or threaten to use violence or other criminal means to cause harm to an obligor or the property of the obligor;
(5) Falsely accuse or threaten to falsely accuse an obligor of a violation of state or federal laws;
(6) Take or threaten to take an enforcement action against an obligor that is not authorized by law;
(7) Represent to an obligor that the private child support collector is affiliated with the department or any other governmental entity authorized to enforce child support obligations or fail to include in any written correspondence to an obligor the statement that "This communication is from a private child support collector. The purpose of this communication is to collect a child support debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.";
(8) Communicate to an obligor's employer, or his or her agent, any information relating to an obligor's indebtedness other than through proper legal action, process, or proceeding;
(9) Communicate with an obligor whenever it appears the obligor is represented by an attorney and the attorney's name and address are known, or could be easily ascertained, unless the attorney fails to answer correspondences, return telephone calls, or discuss the obligation in question, or unless the attorney and the obligor consent to direct communication;
(10) Contract with an obligee who is owed less than three months of child support arrearages; or
(11) Contract with an obligee for a sum certain to be collected which is greater than the total sum of arrearages and the statutory interest owed as of the date of execution of the contract.
(d) In addition to any other cancellation or termination provisions provided in the contract between a private child support collector and an obligee, the contract shall be cancelled or terminate if:
(1) The obligee requests cancellation in writing within 30 days of signing the contract;
(2) The obligee requests cancellation in writing after any 12 consecutive months in which the private child support collector fails to make a collection;
(3) The private child support collector breaches any term of the contract or violates any provision contained within this Code section; or
(4) The amount to be collected pursuant to the contract has been collected.
(e) When it reasonably appears to the administrator that a private child support collector has contracted with obligees on or after July 1, 2009, using a contract that is not in compliance with this Code section, the administrator may demand pursuant to Code Section 10-1-403
that such private child support collector produce a true and accurate copy of each such contract. If such private child support collector fails to comply or the contracts are determined by the administrator to not be compliant with the provisions of this Code section, the administrator may utilize any of the powers vested in this part to ensure compliance.
(f) Upon the request of an obligee, the Child Support Enforcement Agency of the department shall forward child support payments made payable to the obligee to any private child support collector that is in compliance with the provisions of this Code section and Code Section 10-1-393.9
(g) The remedies provided in this part shall be cumulative and shall be in addition to any other procedures, rights, or remedies available under any other law.
(h) Any waiver of the rights, requirements, and remedies provided by this Code section that are contained in a contract between a private child support collector and an obligee violates public policy and shall be void.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer