Latest News

Debts Incurred After Filing Bankruptcy

Because the automatic stay only applies to debts included in the bankruptcy filing, the stay does not apply to debts that arose after the bankruptcy filing, and thus collection agencies are free to pursue collection of such debts.

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Hiring a Debt Collection Agency is now Becoming a Common Practice for Every Organization

By Simon Hatfield

In a recent finding, it has been observed that a lot of organizations have now been hiring a debt collection agency in order to recover their unpaid money from debtors. As every organization meets clients with some poor record of paying money for various services and products on time, it has left them with no other way than to rely on external help for the timely payments.

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March 2020

Relationship Goals Between Consumers, Spouses and Debt Collectors

What you need to know about spousal communication rules.

By Angela Czerlanis

Wedding season is approaching its peak in the U.S. As a debt collector, you may find yourself part of some of these unions while attempting to communicate with and collet from on or both spouses.

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February 2020

Right-Party Contacts: Are Spouses Included?

How to proceed when a consumers spouse is on the line.

By: Angela Czerlanis

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January 2020

Please read and ACT ASAP

ACA International members’ participation is CRITICAL in a grassroots campaign aimed at stopping potentially damaging legislation that could impact the way you and your peers collect medical debt. Setting the record straight with Congress requires all hands-on deck.

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I’m Not Paying That!

A consumer’s written refusal to pay is a valid cease communication request under the FDCPA.

By Laura Dadd

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows consumers to request in writing that a debt collector cease contacting them, and the debt collector must comply with such a request. It also requires debt collectors to cease communications when consumers submit a written refusal to pay a debt.

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Rising to the Top

By Ronna Denny

How do you develop leaders?

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A Clear Path

How to triage stalls, disputes or consumer dissatisfaction.

By Angela Czerlanis

In the newly launched update of ACA’s Essential Collection Skills and Techniques course, we place a fresh emphasis on the keen listening skills and quick-thinking that pro collectors need. Calls move fast. Your ability to triage a stall, dispute or consumer dissatisfaction and respond appropriately is crucial to keeping the call moving and properly servicing the account for the consumer and your client.

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HIPAA Myths and Misconceptions Presented by SVMIC

By Loretta Duncan, FACMPE

Trying to comply with HIPAA can be a challenge for healthcare providers, especially when there is so much confusion about specific aspects of the Rules. On almost a daily basis, policyholders contact SVMIC for assistance with HIPAA-related issues. In fielding those calls and emails, some commonalities have been identified. In an effort to clear up this confusion and bust some of these HIPAA “myths”, a few of the most commonly asked questions are provided below with answers backed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the entity responsible for enforcement of HIPAA Rules.

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Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Decline

Bankruptcy filings fell by 0.9 percent for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2019, compared with the year ending March 31, 2018. According to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the March 2019 annual bankruptcy filings totaled 772,646, compared with 779,828 cases in the previous year.

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Give First-Time Managers a Leg Up

Providing opportunities for growth within your organization means identifying or creating appropriate support systems. Let’s take a look at what brand-new supervisors or managers might need to be successful in their new role.

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In Case of Emergency

Common collection challenges that arise from the emergency room.

The health care world has many moving parts. As a debt collector, it’s your job to be the health care expert—which means it’s often up to you to explain medical bills and insurance coverage to consumers, Collector magazine editor Anne Rosso May reports in the November issue.

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Capability Statement – Universal Collection Systems

Capability Statement

Universal Collection Systems, Inc. has been providing Debt Collection Services to clients since 1981. Our reputation for success is due to almost 35 years as a nationwide collection agency. UCS is a veteran-owned, Tennessee-based, small business, with 45 employees that specialize in managed debt collection services. Our Company services Distributors/Retail, State/Local Government, and Medical Collections. UCS is not a letter service, but utilizes live and virtual agents, sends letters, works nights and weekends and takes legal action when necessary.

  • Medical and Specialized Surgery Centers
  • Government Collections for Court Cost and Fines
  • Cable and Utility Collections
  • Early Out Collections Program
  • Legal Support from our attorneys to assist and file lawsuits when needed
  • Bankrupt Accounts and Claim are filed and monitored



  • $250,000 Money & Securities
  • $100,000 Computer Fraud
  • $100,000 Funds Transfer Fraud
  • $2,000,000 Data Breach

Underlying Policies:

  • Automobile Liability
  • General Liability
  • Worker’s Compensation

What sets us apart:

  • Proven track record of above average collections for over 34 years.
  • Use of the American Collectors Association for constant training and education of the latest collection tools and ever changing laws and statutes.
  • Use of the latest software to assist our team in making contact with and recovering monies owed to our clients. We use skip tracing tools to locate those hard to find consumers and when needed we use the legal system.
  • Our service is unmatched by our competitors because UCS is not a Cookie cutter business, but instead, we ask what the client’s needs are, and modify the collection program to suit client needs. UCS has a “Whatever It Takes Attitude“.

Capability Statement PDF

Federal Court Dismisses Class Action FDCPA Claim for Lack of Standing

By Sebestyen v. Leikin, Ingber, & Winter, P.c. and Paul M. Ingber, No. 13-15182, 2018 WL 3036342 (E.D.Mich. June 19, 2018)

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted a collection law firm’s motion to dismiss a class action complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in a case in which a consumer claimed that the collection law firm violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it sent her a collection letter that included the following language:

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Connect The Dots

How to decipher what a consumer is actually trying to say.
By Anne Rosso May

People don’t always say what they mean. This is often not because they are trying to be tricky or malicious – it’s just part of human nature. We’ve all told little white lies to avoid an unpleasant situation or to spare someone’s feelings. In fact, a psychology study published last year found that compassionate people are actually more likely to tell white lies than others.

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ACA Advocacy Alert

ACA International Participates In Industry Roundtable with CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney

On Thursday, Feb. 15, Maria Wolvin, ACA International’s Vice President and Senior Counsel of Regulatory Affairs, participated in an invitation-only, multi-industry roundtable meeting with Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney, and other CFPB senior staff. Ms. Wolvin was joined by Jane Luxton, ACA’s counsel from Clark Hill. The meeting was part of three roundtables the Acting Director held to further his understanding of CFPB issues.

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What we do is Important to YOU and the Community!

Keep that revenue stream flowing in 2018!

Based on data from 2016, the report details the industry’s contribution to employment, asset recovery and other fiscal categories. Since 2013, the last year a similar survey was conducted, the amount of debt collected has increased by 42 percent, which translates to a return of $67.6 billion to creditors in 2016.

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Bankruptcy and Co-Signers

In a Chapter 13 reorganization:

  1. If the debtor has filed for Chapter 13 reorganization, the creditor or collector is prohibited from attempting to collect the debt from a co-signer.
  2. In Chapter 13, the debtor is trying to re-organize and pay a portion of his or her debt through a court-approved plan over a period of time, generally three years. The automatic stay in Chapter 13 bankruptcies protects both the debtor who has filed for bankruptcy, as well as any co-debtors on claims, as the stay protects an individual who is jointly liable for a “consumer debt” as defined by § 101(8) of the Code ─ “[a] debt incurred by an individual primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose[s].”

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Medicare Beneficiaries are Facing Higher Out-of-Pocket Costs

Medicare beneficiaries are facing higher out-of-pocket costs that amount to a “substantial” share of their income, according to an issue brief from The Commonwealth Fund, “Medicare Beneficiaries’ High Out-of-Pocket Costs: Cost Burdens by Income and Health Status. ”There are 56 million people, or 17 percent of the U.S. population, who rely on Medicare, according to the report. By 2024, one-fifth of the population will have Medicare coverage. The benefits exclude dental, vision, hearing and long-term services coverage, and there is no limit on out-of-pocket costs for thecovered services, it states.

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Credit Card Debt

Thirty-nine percent of adults surveyed report their household carries credit card debt from month to month, compared to 35 percent in 2016, according to the news release. Sixteen percent of adults said they carried over $2,500 or more in credit card debt each month, compared to 14 percent in 2016.

“Interest rate increases related to the recent Federal Reserve announcement will likely add to the cost of carrying credit card debt, which could increase financial pressures on families who are unable to find extra room in their budget to offset the impact of these changes,” the NCFF reports.

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Protecting yourself, What you need to know about Social Media

Today many companies understand the value that social media tools bring to an organization, including enhanced enterprise communication and customer engagement. But while social media generates many benefits in modern business, it also exposes companies to a great deal of risk.  Your organization must develop a risk-sensitive strategy to create an effective ethics and compliance program for your social media efforts.  It’s important to understand not only what social media risk is, but also what action should be taken to effectively respond to these risks.

The average cost of a single social media risk incident is #3.5 million, according to a report by Blue Hill Research.  These incidents can lead to brand erosion, direct financial costs, legal exposure, regulatory penalties and litigation costs.

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Security Is a Shared Responsibility


The payment card industry Data Security Standard, known as PCI DSS, is one of the most common ways companies are expected to protect consumer cardholder date.


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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) remains extremely interested in the activities of data furnishers and the accuracy of information contained in consumer reports. The CFPB recently released Bulletin 2014-01 which highlights the obligations of data furnishers to investigate disputed information contained in consumer reports.

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Email Hacking….what to look for

email security

UCS Employees Reach Milestone

Theresa LewisCongratulations to Theresa for making 30 years with Universal.  We are proud to have her and welcome her for 30 more!









angie champion Universal would also like to Congratulate Angie on 25 years of service.

Bankruptcies and Spouses


Bankruptcy is a complex process that affects the rights of not only the petitioner and her creditors, but also other interested parties including spouses and ex-spouses.  Questions often arise regarding the rights of a non-filing spouse when debt is discharged in the other spouse’s bankruptcy proceeding.

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The Next Phase of ICD- 10

How health-care providers manage the progress of ICD-10 will determine how well they are able to protect their bottom line.
By Katy Zillmer

The deadline to implement the ICD-10 medical diagnostic coding system passed on Oct. 1,2015, and now it’s critical for health-care organizations to make sure their efforts to prepare for its use, including preventing technological problems and claim denials, do not go to waste.

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Merry Christmas & HAPPY HOLIDAYS

From all of us at Universal Collection Systems!!!!!

We have experienced another great year that would not

have been possible without YOU!

We would like to take this time to say a Very Heart Felt and Warm Thank You. Please take some extended time with your Family and Friends this Christmas season.

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Settlement Offers

Settlement offers provided with the validation letter may overshadow the consumer’s validation rights. Courts are not in agreement on this subject and at least one court has held a settlement offer provided with the validation notice overshadowed the validation period. This court found that a validation letter that contained language to suggest that the consumer should call to arrange a settlement to gain the collector’s cooperation circumvented the FDCPA and overshadowed the validation notice. Another court held that a settlement offer that expired before the validation period did not overshadow the validation notice as it did not demand immediate payment nor did it state the consumer has less than thirty days to dispute the debt. One time offers can sometimes be considered false or misleading; especially, if the collector can offer the discount at any time or can offer more of a discount than is presented. One district court determined that successive settlement offers that included end dates were not false or misleading under the FDCPA. The court concluded “a settlement offer that states the proposed discount and the length of the offer, but does not expressly nor implicitly indicate no other offer will be made” does not violate the Act even though more favorable terms in the future are likely.

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Millions of Consumers Lack Credit History

Many U.S. consumers do not have a credit history or enough record of borrowing to establish a credit score, which is information that helps track the likelihood they will repay their debts and how much is owed to creditors.

One in every 10 adults, or 26 million people, do not have a credit history with one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies, according to data released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week.

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