As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Board” means the Tennessee collection service board;

(2) “Client” means any person who retains the services of a collection service and for such services directly provides the fee, commission or other compensation;

(3) “Collection service” means any person that engages in, or attempts to engage in, the collection of delinquent accounts, bills or other forms of indebtedness irrespective of whether the person engaging in or attempting to engage in collection activity has received the indebtedness by assignment or whether the indebtedness was purchased by the person engaging in, or attempting to engage in, the collection activity. “Collection service” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Any deputy sheriff, constable or other individual who, in the course of that person’s duties, accepts any compensation other than that fixed by statute in connection with the collection of an account;

(B) Any person who, in the process of collecting that person’s own accounts, uses or causes to be used any fictitious name that would indicate to a debtor that a third party is handling the accounts;

(C) Any person who offers for sale, gives away or uses any letter or form designed for use in the collection of accounts that deceives the receiver into believing that an account is in the hands of a third party, even though the letter or form may instruct the debtor to pay directly to the debtor’s creditor; and

(D) Any person who engages in the solicitation of claims or judgments for the purpose of collecting or attempting to collect claims or judgments or who solicits the purchase of claims or judgments for the purpose of collecting or attempting to collect claims or judgments by engaging in or attempting to engage in collection activity relative to claims or judgments.

(4) “Collection service license” means a license granted to a collection service;

(5) “Financially responsible” means capable, as demonstrated to the board’s satisfaction, of sound financial management and fiscal discretion. The board may deem to be not financially responsible any person who:

(A) Submits a balance sheet reflecting liabilities in excess of assets;

(B) Is unable to pay debts as they mature;

(C) Submits materially inaccurate financial information; or

(D) Issues a check to a client without sufficient funds for the payment of the check in full;

(6) “Location manager” means an individual who is employed full time at a location of a collection service and designated to be in active and responsible charge of the business of a collection service at the location at which the individual is employed;

(7) “Location manager license” means a license granted to a location manager pursuant to § 62-20-108;

(8) “Person” means an individual, firm, corporation, association or other legal entity; and

(9) “Solicitor” means any individual who is employed by or under contract with a collection service to solicit accounts or sell collection service forms or systems on its behalf.

[Acts 1981, ch. 170, § 2; modified; Acts 1988, ch. 823, §§ 1-5; 2009, ch. 279, § 6.]