STATE GOVERNMENT AND STATE AFFAIRS
67-2358. Collection of public debts — Fees.
(1) (a) Public agencies, as defined in section 67-2327, Idaho Code, may retain by written contract a collection agency that has a permit pursuant to chapter 22, title 26, Idaho Code, for the purpose of collecting public debts owed by any person, including any restitution that is being collected on behalf of a crime victim.
(b) Any public agency using a collection agency as provided in this section may add a reasonable fee, payable by the debtor, to the outstanding debt for the collection agency fee incurred or to be incurred. The amount to be paid for collection services shall be left to the agreement of the public agency and its collection agency or agencies, but in no case shall a contingent fee exceed thirty-three percent (33%) of the unpaid debt per account.
(2) (a) No debt may be assigned to a collection agency unless there has been a reasonable attempt to advise the debtor of the debt and at least thirty (30) days have elapsed from the time such notice was attempted. The public agency shall maintain a record of all attempts to notify the debtor of the existence of the debt.
(b) As used in this subsection, "reasonable attempt" means that the public agency has notified the debtor, either by mail, electronic transaction, telephone or in person, of the existence of the debt and that the public agency is attempting to collect the debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. At least one (1) notice sent pursuant to this subsection shall be in writing and shall state:
(i) The amount of the debt;
(ii) That unless the debtor, within thirty (30) days after receipt of notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the public agency;
(iii) That if the debtor notifies the public agency in writing within the thirty (30) day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the public agency will obtain verification of the debt and a copy of such verification will be mailed to the consumer by the public agency; and
(iv) That the public agency may employ a debt collection agency to collect a debt, which may result in additional costs to the debtor if the debtor fails to pay the debt.
(3) Collection agencies acting pursuant to this section shall have only those remedies and powers which are available to them under chapter 22, title 26, Idaho Code.
(4) For purposes of this section, the term "debt" shall include all debts, including the fee required under subsection (1)(b) of this section, except as otherwise provided by law.
[67-2358, added 2003, ch. 245, sec. 2, p. 636.]