§ 7311.  Unlawful collection agency practices.
        (a)  Assignments of claims.--It is lawful for a collection
     agency, for the purpose of collecting or enforcing the payment
     thereof, to take an assignment of any such claim from a
     creditor, if all of the following apply:
            (1)  The assignment between the creditors and collection
        agency is in writing.
            (2)  The original agreement between the creditor and
        debtor does not prohibit assignments.
            (3)  The collection agency complies with the act of
        December 17, 1968 (P.L.1224, No.387), known as the Unfair
        Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and with the
        regulations promulgated under that act.
        (b)  Appearance for creditor.--It is unlawful for a
     collection agency to appear for or represent a creditor in any
     manner whatsoever, but a collection agency, pursuant to
     subsection (a), may bring legal action on claims assigned to it
     and not be in violation of subsection (c) if the agency appears
     by an attorney.
        (b.1)  Unfair or deceptive collection methods.--It is
     unlawful for a collector to collect any amount, including any
     interest, fee, charge or expense incidental to the principal
     obligation, unless such amount is expressly provided in the
     agreement creating the debt or is permitted by law.
        (c)  Furnishing legal services.--It is unlawful for a
     collection agency to furnish, or offer to furnish legal
     services, directly or indirectly, or to offer to render or
     furnish such services within or without this Commonwealth. The
     forwarding of a claim by a collection agency to an attorney at
     law, for the purpose of collection, shall not constitute
     furnishing legal service for the purposes of this subsection.
        (d)  Services for debtor.--It is unlawful for a collection
     agency to act for, represent or undertake to render services for
     any debtor with regard to the proposed settlement or adjustment
     of the affairs of such debtor, whether such compromise,
     settlement, or adjustment be made through legal proceedings or
     otherwise, or to demand, ask for, or receive any compensation
     for services in connection with the settlement or collection of
     any claim except from the creditor for whom it has rendered
     lawful services.
        (e)  Running for attorneys.--It is unlawful for a collection
     agency to solicit employment for any attorney at law, whether
     practicing in this Commonwealth or elsewhere, or to receive from
     or divide with any such attorney at law any portion of any fee
     received by such attorney at law. This subsection does not
     prohibit the established custom of sharing commissions at a
     commonly accepted rate upon collection of claims between a
     collection agency and an attorney at law.
        (f)  Coercion or intimidation.--
            (1)  It is unlawful for a collection agency to coerce or
        intimidate any debtor by delivering or mailing any paper or
        document simulating, or intending to simulate, a summons,
        warrant, writ, or court process as a means for the collection
        of a claim, or to threaten legal proceedings against any
        debtor.
            (2)  Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not prohibit:
                (i)  A collection agency from informing a debtor that
            if a claim is not paid, it will be referred to an
            attorney at law for such action as he may deem necessary,
            without naming a specific attorney.
                (ii)  A magisterial district judge from sending out
            notices to debtors before the institution of suit.
        (g)  Grading.--Whoever violates any of the provisions of this
     section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
        (h)  Definitions.--As used in this section the following
     words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
     subsection:
        "Claim."  Includes any claim, demand, account, note, or any
     other chose in action or liability of any kind whatsoever.
        "Collection agency."  A person, other than an attorney at law
     duly admitted to practice in any court of record in this
     Commonwealth, who, as a business, enforces, collects, settles,
     adjusts, or compromises claims, or holds himself out, or offers,
     as a business, to enforce, collect, settle, adjust, or
     compromise claims.
        "Creditor."  Includes a person having or asserting such a
     claim.
        "Debtor."  Includes any person against whom a claim is
     asserted.
     (Dec. 19, 1990, P.L.1451, No.219, eff. imd.; Nov. 30, 2004,
     P.L.1618, No.207, eff. 60 days)

        2004 Amendment.  Act 207 amended subsec. (f)(2). See sections
     28 and 29 of Act 207 in the appendix to this title for special
     provisions relating to applicability and construction of law.
        1990 Amendment.  Act 219 amended subsecs. (a) and (b) and
     added subsec. (b.1).