Reply To: California

Urge That SB 908 Be Amended so Private Investigators
Will Not Need a Debt Collector License

Members and Colleagues:

Despite the best efforts of many of you who have been involved in attempting to get an amendment on SB 908, our voices are not being heard. SB 908 has passed both the Assembly Banking and Finance and Assembly Appropriations Committees and is on its way to the Assembly Floor for a vote of the entire Assembly. For those of you who have been asking how you can help, NOW IS THE TIME!

We need everyone to step up. The bill is ambiguous and broad and may require some of us to get a second license, even if we are doing nothing more than a locate or surveillance for a client to collect a debt, even though we are not collecting the debt ourselves.

Please let me know once you have called or sent an email. To keep your notifications separate and not overwhelm my regular email, please send it to me at

Thank you.

Francie Koehler, Government Affairs Committee Chair


Urge That SB 908 Be Amended so Private Investigators
Will Not Need a Debt Collector License

CALI is urging all members to contact their Assembly Member and urge them to vote “no” on the debt collector licensure bill SB 908 [Wieckowski] unless the bill is amended to clarify that licensed PI’s locating individuals, conducting surveillance, or performing background checks will not be required to obtain a second license as a debt collector.

What to Do

Confirm your Assembly Member:
Click on their name to visit their website, go to the “contact link,” enter your name and request
Let CALI GAC Chair Francie Koehler know that you have made contact:
When to Contact Your Representative

Right Now – the bill could be brought up on the Assembly Floor [Assembly Third Reading] as soon as Monday, August 24. PLEASE MAKE CONTACT BY 10 AM MONDAY, AUGUST 24.

CALI’s Position on SB 908 [Wieckowski]
CALI is opposing SB 908 unless the measure is amended to resolve the ambiguity in the bill that could result in licensed private investigators having to be licensed twice for the same investigatory activities for which they are currently licensed under the state Private Investigator Act.

What you can say or write to your Assembly Member

I have no objection to the licensure of debt collectors and the protection of consumers. However, the restatement of the current Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as a licensure act brings to the forefront the broad scope of key definitions.

SB 908 would:

Require the licensure of individuals who meet a very broad definition of “debt collector” as “any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on the person’s own behalf or on behalf of others, engages in debt collection.”
Define “debt collection” to mean “any act or practice in connection with the collection of consumer debt.”
Together, these definitions are so broad that they could be interpreted as applying to the investigations by licensed private investigators that are not considered debt collection as they do not involve the collection of a consumer debt or an attempt to collect a consumer debt. These acts include locating an individual, performing a background investigation of an individual, or serving process. These acts are covered by the PI Act.

CALI is urging that SB 908 be amended on Page 7, Line 31 to clarify that these specific acts do not trigger a second license.

The Amendment:

This division shall not require an additional license for the specific act of locating an individual, conducting a background investigation of an individual, or the service of process that is ancillary to the collection of a debt, that does not involve the collection of a consumer debt or an attempt to collect a consumer debt, and that is performed by a person pursuant to his or her license as a private investigator, as covered by the Private Investigator Act [Chapter 11.3 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, commencing with Section 7512].

Business and Professions Code Section 7521 states:

7521. A private investigator within the meaning of this chapter is a person, other than an insurance adjuster subject to the provisions of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 14000) of Division 5 of the Insurance Code, who, for any consideration whatsoever engages in business or accepts employment to furnish or agrees to furnish any person to protect persons pursuant to Section 7521.5, or engages in business or accepts employment to furnish, or agrees to make, or makes, any investigation for the purpose of obtaining, information with reference to:

(a) Crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States of America or any state or territory of the United States of America.

(b) The identity, habits, conduct, business, occupation, honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, efficiency, loyalty, activity, movement, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation, or character of any person.

(c) The location, disposition, or recovery of lost or stolen property.
(d) The cause or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents, or damage or injury to persons or to property.

(e) Securing evidence to be used before any court, board, officer, or investigating committee.

For the purposes of this section, a private investigator is any person, as defined in Section 7512.3, acting for the purpose of investigating, obtaining, and reporting to any employer, or an agent designated by the employer, information concerning the employer’s employees involving questions of integrity, honesty, breach of rules, or other standards of performance of job duties.

This section does not apply to a public utility regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, or its employees.


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