The head of a company that sells surety bonds has come out and published an opinion piece in a Maine newspaper, touting the additional layers of consumer protections that are being put in place as a result of changes made to that state’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The new laws were signed by Gov. Paul LePage in February and are set to go into effect next month. Among the changes are that collection agencies will now be required to obtain a license if it is collecting on debts held by residents of the state, regardless of where the agency is located. As part of that licensing process, companies will have to post surety bonds – $20,000 for new applicants and up to $50,000 for renewals, depending on how much debt the company collects.
The additional requirements will ensure that “consumers who work with collectors will be better protected,” said Todd Bryant, the president and founder of Bryant Surety Bonds, writing in the Bangor Daily News.
“The surety bond is an important means of guaranteeing that licensed businesses and professionals comply with their legal obligations,” Bryant writes. “It also serves as a guarantee to a collector’s clients that they have legal recourse against a collector who violates the conditions of the bond agreement.”
To be honest, I’m not really sure why this matters to consumers. It’s entirely self-serving, coming from someone who will directly benefit from the changes to the law, and, will requiring collection agencies to obtain a bond be what keeps them on the straight and narrow, following all the applicable state laws? To Bryant, I guess it is.
“When a collector has a bond, this is signal he or she is deemed reliable enough to be backed by a surety,” he said.
All of us can rest a little easier, I guess.