Under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, the Department of the Treasury is required to maintain a schedule of private collection agencies (PCAs) or private sector companies having expertise in the area of debt collection, to assist the government in its debt collection efforts. As part of the Cross-Servicing program, the Treasury Department attempts to collect delinquent debt through several means, including demand letters, telephone calls, the Treasury Offset Program (TOP), Administrative Wage Garnishment, and credit bureau reporting. Once Treasury has exhausted efforts to collect the debts internally, the debts are sent to the PCAs for collection activity. The activities of the PCAs are monitored by the personnel of the Debt Services Division (DSD) of Debt Management Services (DMS).
What is a private collection agency? A private collection agency (PCA) is a private sector company specializing in the collection of delinquent debt. A PCA will attempt to find and contact a debtor by searching various databases, making telephone calls and sending collection letters. Once the debtor is located and contacted, the PCA will encourage the debtor to satisfy the debt. A PCA may help Treasury resolve the debts through negotiating a payment in full, a payment agreement, utilizing administrative wage garnishment or finding that the debt may resolved administratively.
DMS awards new private collection agency contracts. On March 12, 2012, four new Treasury debt collection contracts, to enlist the services of private collection agency contractors, were effective. These contracts were awarded in order to increase the recovery of and resolve non-tax federal debts. The new contracts are one-year contracts with four one-year options available. The following contractors were awarded a Treasury debt collection contract to provide delinquent debt collection services:
The CBE Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 2040
Waterloo, IA 50704-2040
Phone No. (866) 895-4766
P.O. Box 1528
Fairport, NY 14450
Phone number for consumer debts: 1-866-547-0501
Phone number for commercial debts: 1-866-562-3255
Pioneer Credit Recovery, Inc.
P.O. Box 189
Arcade, NY 14009
Phone No. (877) 907-1820
Private Collection Agency Performance. Private collection agency contractors continue to provide valuable services to DMS. From March 1998 to February 2012, the PCAs have collected nearly $779 million in delinquent, non-tax debt for the government. With federal agencies referring more debts to Treasury's Cross-Servicing Program, DMS expects collections will continue to rise in upcoming years.
Contacting the PCA's. Each PCA may be contacted at the address or phone number shown above by anyone with questions concerning a debt or their services.
How are these agencies regulated? The collection efforts of the PCAs are governed by various federal and state laws, including, but not limited to, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Federal Claims Collection Standards, and the Privacy Act. Collection agency employees are trained to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Under Treasury's contract with the PCAs, there are numerous controls to ensure that debtors are treated fairly. The Debt Services Division (DSD) of DMS closely monitors the activities of the PCAs on a daily basis. When the DSD is notified in writing of any complaint concerning the PCA, the evidence is reviewed, documentation is gathered, and action is taken to correct the situation, if necessary. In addition, DSD personnel conduct on-site Compliance Reviews of each PCA on a rotational basis, to ensure that all aspects of Treasury's contract are being adhered to by the PCAs.