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Blueprint Quality Management System®

Write it.

Do it.

Check it.

Improve it.

Earn a Blueprint Quality Management System certification to form a foundation for RFPs, as well as licensing, regulators, and industry certifications. In addition, create efficiency and consistency for staff and clients, develop accountability to higher standards, and make continuous improvements across all practices.

What if your agency could:

  • Cut down on the number of mistakes it makes?
  • Increase communication among various departments?
  • Handle client issues in a more efficient and professional manner?
  • Achieve bottom-line improvement?
  • Be recognized for adhering to an industry standard?

The ACA Blueprint Quality Management System can help your company achieve this and more. Scroll down to learn all about the Blueprint program.

Blueprint is the redesigned and modernized Professional Practices Management System (PPMS).

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The Program

The program features 18 basic elements related to:

  • Overall management of the business
  • Ways to improve and support business activities
  • Client confidence

The accounts receivable management (ARM) industry is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Blueprint comes with the flexibility to shape your agency’s procedures to produce more effective outcomes.

Get started with the ACA Foundational Training on Blueprint seminars, which are available face-to-face, online, and on-demand.

Blueprint Basic Elements

An overview of the Blueprint program and details on its 18 elements.

Reviewing vision, mission, goals and expectations.

What is it?

  • Requires the documentation of executive management’s policy concerning: client satisfaction, continuous improvement, and prevention of negative impacts on the collection industry.
  • Requires management to provide the resources to carry out its policy.
  • Requires a periodic review of the management system to compare performance to management policy.

Why do it?

  • To make sure that executive management provides vision and leadership.
  • To place responsibility on executive management to: define the management system, implement the management system, and maintain the management system.

Example:

Executives review annual agency results

  • Performance (Example: recovery percentages)
  • Client referrals
  • Etc.

Writing company policies, procedures, and work instructions.

What is it?

Requires a documented management program (i.e., Company Manual) that: implements the organization’s policies, plans, and objectives; and reflects key management practices.

Why do it?

  • To make certain that an agency’s management practices are consistent (i.e., reproducible).
  • To make certain that an agency’s management practices provide services that meet client needs.
  • To provide a baseline to: measure performance against and improve against.

Example

Sample Professional Practices Manual

Determining company’s ability to meet each client’s needs and expectations.

What is it?

A formal comparison of client requirements against an agency’s ability to meet those requirements.

  • Define client’s needs and expectations.
  • Review client’s needs and expectations.
  • Review regulatory requirements.
  • Define communication protocol.
  • Track amendments to agreements.

Why do it?

To make certain that an agency will be able to meet a client’s needs before placing accounts.

Examples

  • Listing accounts under the wrong client number.
  • Format of responsible party data received from client did not follow agreed-upon format (Health care account sent to agency without patient names).

Maintaining both electronic and paper documents—policies, procedures, work instructions—and removing obsolete information.

What is it?

Establishing control documents and data to ensure: (1) that they are current, (2) that they are accessible where needed, (3) that they are reviewed and revised as necessary, and (4) that obsolete documents are removed from places where they might be used.

Why do it?

To make sure that the documents and data an agency uses are current and available.

Example

Procedures to enter new accounts and cash process were updated, but someone in the agency used the old procedure (resulting in unhappy clients, irate debtors, and happy attorneys).

Managing the purchasing process—major products and services only.

What is it?

Establishment of controls over an agency’s purchasing process that have a direct effect on services.
Controls should focus on: (1) Defining precise purchasing requirements in P.O.s and contracts (e.g., define criteria upfront) and (2) Evaluating vendors who have an impact on your service offering (e.g., letter services, etc.).

Why do it?

  • To make certain the service received from your vendors meets your requirements.
  • To incorporate the vendor’s service into your process, which should satisfy your client’s requirements.

Example

Selecting “Phone Vendor” based solely on price: Agency selected a phone system on price; system and dialer went down (i.e., no incoming or outgoing calls); the vendor did not have the technical ability to service the system and took over two days to get the phone system working again.

Securing and controlling all data flowing into the office.

What is it?

  • Requires establishment of controls concerning above subject data.
  • Controls should include such things as: identification, storage, security, and maintenance.

Why do it?

To make sure your agency: protects privacy of clients and consumers, complies with regulations, prevents credit fraud, and ensures client satisfaction

Example

Privacy Issues (FDCPA): (1) Shredding vs. throwing records in the trash, and (2) Agency was sued for violating FDCPA when an attorney for a consumer pulled confidential records from the dumpster (i.e., found in plastic trash bags).

Understanding company information and where it belongs.

What is it?

A requirement regarding identification and traceability of incoming data, in-process data, and final data.

  • Identification: The ability to distinguish one piece of data from another piece of data.
  • Traceability: To be able to follow the data through the collection process.
  • Concerns only data in control of the agency

Why do it?

To make certain that data is properly identified at all stages of your service in order to avoid errors.

Example

  • Managing accounts: (1) Ability to tie data to your client, (2) Ability to document when an account moves to a new stage in the collection process, and (3) Ability to flag account status (e.g., do not call).
  • Most collection software on the market will do the above.

Maintaining procedures or instructions for consistent performance—new business entry, cash application, collection call, etc.

What is it?

Requires that an agency: (1) Identify, plan, and control the steps to deliver the service, (2) Complies with industry standards, and (3) Monitors and controls work procedures and processes.

Why do it?

  • To make sure all of an agency’s processes are carried out under controlled conditions to minimize variability in its services.
  • To provide evidence that you are meeting client requirements.
  • To boost client confidence.

Example

Collection Process: (1) Initial communication letter was sent, (2) Letter was not responded to by consumer, and (3) Before 30-day validation period expired, a demand payment request was made to pay immediately—a violation of the FDCPA.

Testing, reviewing, and verifying planned work processes—new business entry, cash application, collection call, etc.

What is it?

Requires that informal audit processes be in place to ensure that the service conforms to specified requirements for: Incoming service – new account listings, In-process service – collection cycle, and Finished service – cancellation or paid-in-full.

Why do it?

  • To make sure that accounts are consistently handled.
  • To ensure that services conform to all requirements at each service stage.
  • To identify nonconforming products at the earliest possible stage.
  • To facilitate corrective action.

Examples

  • Duplicating work—entered new business twice because it is in the wrong pile.
  • Setting your agency up on the system as a dummy account to see if you are getting the correct letter in a timely manner.

Verifying that company processes occur in sequence.

What is it?

This element focuses on the following: (1) That all required steps in the collection process take place and (2) That these steps take place in the proper sequence, where applicable.

Why do it?

  • To make sure that only services that pass the required inspection and test are released to the next step. (Example: If the file is marked do not contact, you do not want anyone from the agency to contact the responsible party.)
  • Client satisfaction.

Examples

  • FDCPA: Do not demand payment in a timeframe shorter than the 30-day validation period.
  • Consumer’s attorney sends official notice: “do not contact the debtor.”

Identifying and recording mistakes or problems.

What is it?

Requirement that an agency will: (1) Identify nonconforming services, (2) Evaluate the degree and extent of the nonconformance, and (3) Contain nonconformity to prevent further problems.

Why do it?

To make sure that an agency identifies nonconforming services in order to: (1) Prevent further damage, (2) Improve service, and (3) Satisfy clients.

Examples

  • Client requirements not followed.
  • Legal requirements not followed.
  • Internal agency procedures not followed.

Correcting and preventing problems by finding a better, faster, or more reliable way to accomplish work.

What is it?

  • Investigation and elimination of root causes of nonconforming activities at any point in an agency’s service.
  • Testing or proving the adequacy of procedures/processes to prevent occurrence of nonconforming services in the first place.
  • Reengineering processes to improve services and reduce cost.

Why do it?

  • To make certain that causes of nonconforming services are investigated and a good-faith effort is made to eliminate them.
  • Elimination of potential causes of nonconforming services before they occur.
  • To continuously improve services.

Example

Corrective Action: Root Cause Analysis

  • Client Complaint: Agency was taking three months to forward out-of-state accounts.
  • Reason: Forwarding was done manually.
  • Corrective/Preventive Action: Process is being computerized.

Disaster planning and delivery of information.

What is it?

  • Extension of Element 6: Control of Client & Customer Supplied Data.
  • Extension of Element 8: Process Control.
  • Covers issues concerning the integrity of an agency’s business: (1) Disaster Planning, (2) Tracking of Money, (3) Daily Cash Journals, and (4) Formats of Client Reports.

Why do it?

  • To protect the integrity of service at all stages.
  • Make sure to care for client-provided data: (1) How is data handled? (2) How is data stored? (3) How is data preserved? and (4) How is data delivered?

Example

Disaster Recovery Plan

  • General Manager: Responsible for all oversight of recovery activities.
  • MIS Supervisor: Determine if company’s computer equipment is operational and can be moved to a new work location. Arrange for rental equipment if computer equipment is not operational. Recover backup tapes from off-site storage area.
  • Collection Supervisor: If the disaster requires work operations to be moved to another location, contact telecommunications vendors and arrange for a temporary service at the new location. Recover hardcopy files (i.e., client and responsible party information) from off-site storage area.

Handling, storing, retrieving, and depositing of information.

What is it?

  • Effective control and management of records and data.
  • It includes: Archiving records; identification and indexing records; retrieving stored records (e.g., one business day); storing records effectively (e.g., preventing deterioration); proper disposal of records (e.g., privacy considerations) and establishing record retention time.

Why do it?

  • To make certain that agency records are available.
  • To demonstrate effective operation of the management system (all steps performed).
  • To provide evidence of the achievement of required service quality.
  • To use records to help an agency’s service to improve.
  • To define how long records are kept.

Examples

  • Record Storage: IRS Records (e.g., keep seven years) and Complaints (e.g., dispose after one year)
  • Destroying of Records and Data: Shredding, Burn Bag, and Trash.
  • Policies on What Data and Records to Keep and What to Throw Away.

Ensuring procedures and policies are followed and the management system is working by having all departments inspected on a regular basis.

What is it?

  • A planned process for conducting internal audits of your management system.
  • It includes: (1) Planning and scheduling audits according to status and importance of activity, (2) Carrying out audits using independent personnel, (3) Documenting audit results and any follow-up activity, (4) Communicating audit results to appropriate personnel, including management, (5) Initiating corrective action, and (5) Verifying and recording effectiveness of corrective action taken.

Why do it?

  • To check that your management processes are performing to requirements (i.e., client, internal and regulatory requirements).
  • To demonstrate the effectiveness of your management practices.

Example

Internal Audit Checklist

Continuous training of all staff.

What is it?

  • A training process that is based on an agency’s job requirements
  • It requires: (1) Evaluation of training needs to satisfy job requirements (education, knowledge, skills), (2) Development of a training plan, (3) Training of personnel to meet training needs and (4) Keeping records of individual qualifications.

Why do it?

To make certain that employees are trained to do their jobs effectively so they will avoid mistakes that affect the quality of an agency’s service.

Example

  • FDCPA Training
  • FCRA Training
  • Telephone Collection Techniques
  • Skiptracing Training
  • HIPAA Training

Measuring results internally and externally.

What is it?

  • Identification of measurements to prove that your service is working properly (effectiveness = quality).
  • These measurements should support the following: (1) That an agency is conforming to Internal Requirements, (2) That an agency is conforming to Client Requirements, and (3) That an agency is conforming to Regulatory Requirements.
  • Identification of measurements to help your agency improve (efficiency = profits).

Why do it?

  • To provide confidence that an agency’s processes are performing to requirements.
  • To provide targets for improvement.

Example

Improvement Targets: Example Plan

Security of information systems.

Blueprint Requirements:

  • Data and IT are secured
  • User account administration is being monitored

Blueprint Certification

To be certified, agencies must demonstrate they have implemented the Blueprint Quality Management System. Certification requires that the agency have an independent CPA visit their office, attest to the required information, and send it to an independent third-party auditor (determined by ACA) for review. If the information meets the requirements, certification will be granted.

Requirements:

  • Create and maintain a documented professional practices manual. This manual will be used for third-party accounts receivables.
    Compliance Check – Annually submit a copy of the title page and table of contents of the Manual along with a signed statement that the content complies with the ACA’s PPMS™. The Manual should follow the numbering system (i.e. element numbers).
  • Annual executive management review of Blueprint. Continuous improvements to be pursued in the next 12 months. Review results of internal audits and nonconformances. Review industry, customer, and code of ethics requirements.
    Compliance Check – Annually submit signed copies of the following: (1) Signed copy of the continuous improvement program. (2) Signed copy of NCN trends by element. (3) Signed copy that the industry and code of ethics review has taken place.
  • Develop a continuous improvement program. The program should be based on: (1) Analysis of customer satisfaction, including customer feedback information, (2) Trends from nonconformances notes (NCNs), (3) Internal audit feedback, and (4) New industry requirements.
    Compliance Check – Annually submit a signed list of continuous improvements that are planned for the following 12 months.
  • Develop an internal auditing program. All elements of Blueprint will be audited at least once a year.
    Compliance Check – Annually submit signed copy of ACA audit checklist.
  • Create a corrective action program. (1) Set up a system to effectively handle complaints and nonconformances (i.e., customer and consumer); (2) Investigate the causes of complaints and nonconformances (NCNs); (3) Determine corrective action needed to eliminate the cause of complaints and NCNs; (4) Apply controls to ensure corrective action is implemented and effective.
    Compliance Check – Annually submit signed copy of the non–conformance and complaint log (i.e., the log need not be traceable to trends or need not identify the actual complaint or NCN by description).
  • Training. Identify training needs and provide for the training of all personnel performing activities affecting delivery of services.
    Compliance Check – Prior to certification – Attendance at ACA’s foundational training program for agencies (i.e., one person must attend prior to certification). Annually submit a signed copy of training log.

Blueprint Fees:

Fees are based on agency size and number of locations. Base prices are listed below. Contact ACA  for nonmember rates.)

  • Initial Certification Fee (Year 1): $1,839. Includes $299 required seminar registration fee for training seminar. (Does not include fee for separate compliance seminar and does not include local CPA fees or internal costs incurred by the agency.) 
  • Surveillance Fees (Year 2, 3, and 4): $770. (Does not include internal costs incurred by the agency.)
  • Recertification Fees (Year 5): $1,540. (Does not include local CPA fees or internal costs incurred by the agency.)

General FAQs

The Foundational Training on Blueprint seminar is a one-day face-to-face training session or a three-day (two hours each day) online training session. Attendance by at least one agency representative is required before an agency can begin the Blueprint certification process through ACA International. This training seminar provides agencies with the fundamental tools, samples, and knowledge needed to develop a customized Blueprint to fit an agency’s unique business needs.

During the seminar, the instructors introduce attendees to the Blueprint program, outline the elements of Blueprint, and detail the processes and documentation necessary for an agency to develop its own Blueprint. In addition, attendees will be required to attend a 1 1/2-hour online seminar regarding compliance issues in areas such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other industry regulations.

In addition to a thorough review of each of the 18 Blueprint elements, the seminar instructors teach attendees about creating the various types of documentation necessary to support the elements, including: Company Manuals, Company Procedures, and Work Instructions.

Developing and documenting a Blueprint is the core of the ACA International Agency Certification program. The complexity and amount of documentation required for Blueprint will vary by each individual agency’s size, services, and resources. While each agency’s Blueprint will be unique according to its needs, by following the overall guidelines of the program the agency will demonstrate a commitment to quality assurance and client satisfaction that is the foundation of the ACA agency certification.

Although having a Blueprint certification is a necessary requirement to receive agency certification through ACA International, there are many other advantages as well. The process of developing a Blueprint Quality Management System helps an agency thoroughly explore its processes and procedures and improve its overall efficiency and professionalism.

An agency that implements the Blueprint program will be implementing a management system focusing on the following:

Standardizing how an agency is managed and run. One way to remove waste (mistakes, rework, poor service) is to standardize processes so all employees understand their jobs and how their work fits into the system. Standardization increases efficiency—you do not have to reinvent the wheel every time you take on a new client. Standardization will also help you decide when you can charge a client more for an “extra” service that is outside your standard practices.

The Blueprint Quality Management System requires an agency to pursue continuous improvement. No matter how well your agency runs, there is always room for improvement. Blueprint recommends that continuous improvement be tied to the management review process and client satisfaction measurements. In other words, continuous improvement should tie back to process improvement (saving money or developing new profitable services) and/or client satisfaction.

Implementation

The standards you are talking about fit very nicely under either Element one or Element 17. Element one says you have a plan, goals, etc. (standards) and Element 17 says you are measuring against those goals (standards) that have been set. What you can also do is add your standards as a separate section in the front of your company manual if you don’t feel it fits in any other area.

You need to do one project per year as the minimum requirement.

Anything that improves the business. For instance, evaluating a new skiptracing tool or developing a better legal process.

You need to prove that you are providing continuous training to your staff by the training checklist. If you have 100 employees and only two people have had any training over the last year, I would say that is not proving you are providing continuous training to your staff. There is no magic number to pass or fail—it is showing and demonstrating you are doing continuous training.

One way for an IT team to buy into Blueprint is by creating a separate form for them that gets tied to client issues or nonconformities related to IT requests. This allows the company to separate out true IT issues from nonconformities or client issues. Sometimes a client issue will drive an IT request. For example: A client changes their format on the new business file. IT needs to reprogram for the new file format. A client issue would be written and then an IT request to change the program. The client issue is followed up on by client services to ensure the client is satisfied with the changes and IT handles Blueprint in their world.

Certification

This could be any sort of industry training. If someone from your company has attended any sort of ACA seminar or another industry meeting, it would qualify.

You have to have at least one procedure for each of the 17 elements and you have to have a documented policy under Element One. But other than that, you can continuously update your manual.

It takes approximately two weeks.

The trend analysis is done for the entire year, meaning the first six months and then the last six months of the year. If your company chooses to do two audits instead of one for the year, that is your choice, but I am not sure you can tie the audit to a continuous improvement process. You need a minimum of one continuous improvement project a year, which is very easy to do since we all have many going on at the same time.

Documentation

Work instructions are not required for certification.

Yes, and policies are not required except for Element One: Your management policy.

It is not a requirement for certification to include your employee handbook in your company manual. It is up to your company to determine what best suits your needs.

Blueprint Resources for Certified Agencies

Access your Blueprint Quality Management System® resources here. We’ve added key marketing material and logos for your clients and employees. This information will save you time and allow for easier implementation.

Marketing Guide

The Blueprint Playbook: Messaging Potential Clients provides tips and tools to help you promote your certification to your clients and potential clients.

PowerPoint Presentation:

Code of Ethics:

Certified Company Logos:

Website Logos:

Alliance ACA
UPS Advertisement
Alliance ACA
Learn.Net

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“Confidential Information” means any and all ACA Content that is treated as confidential by ACA or that due to the nature of its subject matter or circumstances surrounding its disclosure, would reasonably be understood to be non-public or confidential, whether in oral, written, electronic, or other form or media, whether or not such ACA Content is marked, designated, or otherwise identified as “confidential.”

“Information” means any and all technological, scientific, business, legal, organizational, commercial, operational, or financial materials; unpublished or unpatented inventions, invention summaries and/or disclosures; compilations; samples; statistics; summaries; ideas; notes; concepts; data; know-how; discoveries; processes; essays; knowledge; improvements; methods; techniques; technologies; systems; interpretations; analyses; products; practices; procedures; protocols; research; tests; trials; controls; prototypes; formulas; sales information; descriptions; formulations; submissions; communications; skills; experience; plans; objectives; algorithms; reports; results; forecasts; studies; conclusions; inventions; trade secrets; designs; specifications; documentation; components; computer programs and all source and object code; images; icons; audiovisual components and objects; schematics; drawings; processes; visual depictions; and customer, vendor, and supplier lists; whether or not copyrightable or patentable, in any form or medium (tangible, intangible, oral, written, electronic, observational, or other), whether now known or later developed.

“Intellectual Property” and/or “IP” means any and all United States and foreign intellectual property rights included within any Information owned or created by ACA, along with any associated advertising materials, publications, technical papers and computer software, including, but not limited to: (a) all unexpired patents and patent applications and all rights therein, and any continuation, divisional, extensions, reissues, reexaminations or substitutions thereof, any subsequent filings in any country claiming priority therefrom, and any and all discoveries or inventions whether or not embodied within the foregoing, and any right, whether by license or otherwise, to use or exploit any of the foregoing; (b) all original works of authorship and all copyrights in any jurisdiction (whether or not registered), including, but not limited to, any renewals or extensions thereof, and all derivative works, whether in the current medium or any medium later developed, and any right, whether by license or otherwise, to use or exploit any of the foregoing (“Copyright(s)”); (c) trademarks, service marks, association marks, trade dress or other source identifiers, whether registered or unregistered, that are used by ACA (“Trademark(s)”); (d) all Confidential Information related to the items listed herein; and (e) any other proprietary rights associated with ACA’s Information, whether or not Confidential Information.

Right to Use

By accepting the Terms of Use, User acknowledges and hereby agrees that unless expressly stated otherwise, all ACA Content is solely owned and the property of ACA. User is granted a nonexclusive, revocable, non-assignable, limited license to: (a) access the ACA Content available through the Website for personal use; and (b) create a hyperlink to the Website on User’s website, so long as the link does not portray ACA, or its products or services, in a false, misleading, derogatory, or otherwise offensive manner, and User states that ACA is not affiliated with User. All rights not granted herein are reserved for ACA. This license specifically, but not exclusively, does not grant User: (a) any right to use Trademarks or Copyrights without ACA’s express written permission; (b) any right to resale or commercial use of the Website or ACA Content; (c) any right to create derivative use of the Website or ACA Content; (d) any right to use data mining, robots, or similar data gathering and extraction tools in connection to the Website or ACA Content; (e) any right to copy, commercialize, reproduce, modify, republish, upload, post, transmit, create derivative works or distribute any ACA Content from the Website, in any form, or by any means without prior written permission from ACA; (f) any right to frame or utilize framing techniques to enclose any Intellectual Property without express written consent of ACA; (g) the right to use any meta tags or any other “hidden text” using Intellectual Property without the express written consent of ACA; (h) any ownership rights to any ACA Content. Any unauthorized use of ACA Content is strictly prohibited and is a violation of ACA’s Intellectual Property rights that may result in criminal or civil penalties, and immediately terminates the permission or license granted herein by ACA.

ACA does not warrant or represent that User’s use of ACA Content or any other materials displayed on, or obtained through, the Website will not infringe the rights of third parties.

Policies

ACA has developed policies to ensure accordance with the laws respecting personal rights, antitrust limitations and ACA’s reputation. User hereby agrees to abide by ACA’s general policies in addition to the Terms of Use, including, but not limited to, ACA’s Logo Use Policy, ACA’s Copyright Policy, ACA’s Privacy Policy, and ACA’s Antitrust and Anti-Harassment Policies, all of which can be found on the Website, which are incorporated herein by reference (“Website Policies”).

User Material

If at any time User believes its copyright, trademark or other property rights have been infringed by a posting on the Website, User shall immediately send notification to ACA’s “Designated Agent” that is identified below.

Designated Agent

Pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Sec. 512(c), ACA’ Designated Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement can be reached as indicated below. Service of repeat infringers of copyright or of users about whom repeat claims of copyright infringement are received will be terminated.

Designated Agent for Claimed Infringement:
ACA International
Legal Department
3200 Courthouse Lane, Eagan, MN 55121-1585
(952) 926-6547

User acknowledges and agrees that upon receipt of a notice of a claim of copyright infringement, ACA may immediately remove the identified materials from the Website without liability to User or any other party and that the claims of the complaining party and the party that originally posted the materials will be referred to the United States Copyright Office for adjudication as provided in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Product Descriptions

ACA attempts to be as accurate as possible. However, ACA does not warrant that product descriptions or other ACA Content of this Website is accurate, complete, reliable, current, or error-free. If a product offered by ACA itself is not as described, User’s sole remedy is to return the product in unused condition.

Third Party Sites and Information

The Website may offer third party links allowing User to access other sites on the Internet or that include third party user data, commentary, posts, blogs or otherwise include information, documents, software, materials and/or services provided by other parties (“Third-Party Content”). Third Party Content may contain information or material that some people may find inappropriate or offensive. User Data and Third-Party Content are not under ACA’s control and ACA has no affiliation, does not endorse or take responsibility for any User Data or Third-Party Content. User acknowledges that ACA is not responsible for the accuracy, copyright compliance, legality, decency or any other aspect of the Third-Party Content, nor is ACA responsible for errors or omissions in any references to other parties or their products and services. The inclusion of such Third-Party Content does not imply endorsement of, or association with, the Third-Party Content by ACA.

Disclaimer of Warrranties and Limitation of Liability

THIS WEBSITE AND ALL INFORMATION, CONTENT, MATERIALS, PRODUCTS (INCLUDING SOFTWARE) AND SERVICES INCLUDED ON OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO USER THROUGH THIS WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED BY ACA ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN WRITING. ACA MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE OPERATION OF THIS WEBSITE OR THE INFORMATION, CONTENT, MATERIALS, PRODUCTS (INCLUDING SOFTWARE) OR SERVICES INCLUDED ON OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO USER THROUGH THIS WEBSITE, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN WRITING. USER EXPRESSLY AGREES THAT USER’S USE OF THIS WEBSITE IS AT USER’S SOLE RISK.

TO THE FULL EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, ACA DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NONINFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ACA DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THIS WEBSITE, INFORMATION, CONTENT, MATERIALS, PRODUCTS (INCLUDING SOFTWARE) OR SERVICES INCLUDED ON OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO USER THROUGH THIS WEBSITE, THE SERVERS, OR E-MAIL SENT FROM ACA ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS. ACA WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND ARISING FROM THE USE OF THIS WEBSITE OR FROM ANY INFORMATION, CONTENT, MATERIALS, PRODUCTS (INCLUDING SOFTWARE) OR SERVICES INCLUDED ON OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE TO USER THROUGH THIS WEBSITE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, AND CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED IN WRITING.

CERTAIN STATE LAWS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF CERTAIN DAMAGES. IF THESE LAWS APPLY TO YOU, SOME OR ALL OF THE ABOVE DISCLAIMERS, EXCLUSIONS, OR LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU, AND YOU MIGHT HAVE ADDITIONAL RIGHTS.

Through User’s use of the Website, User may have the opportunities to engage in commercial transactions with other users and vendors. User acknowledges that all transactions relating to any merchandise or services offered by any party, including, but not limited to, the purchase terms, payment terms, warranties, guarantees, maintenance and delivery terms relating to such transactions, are agreed to solely between the seller or purchaser of such merchandise and services and User.

ACA MAKES NO WARRANTY REGARDING ANY TRANSACTIONS EXECUTED THROUGH, OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE WEBSITE, AND USER UNDERSTANDS AND AGREES THAT SUCH TRANSACTIONS ARE CONDUCTED ENTIRELY AT USER’S OWN RISK. ANY WARRANTY THAT IS PROVIDED IN CONNECTION WITH ANY CONTENT, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, MATERIALS, OR INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THE WEBSITE IS PROVIDED SOLELY BY SUCH THIRD PARTY OR THROUGH A SEPARATE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. ACA DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY EXPRESS PRODUCT WARRANTY WITHIN THE TERMS OF USE.

Indemnification

Upon a request by ACA, User agrees to indemnify, defend and hold ACA harmless from all liability, loss, claim and expense, including attorney’s fees, related to User’s violation of the Terms of Use or misuse of the Website. ACA hereby reserves the right, at its own expense, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by User, in which event User will cooperate with ACA in asserting any available defenses.

Privacy Policy

ACA’s Privacy Policy, located on the Website, as it may change from time to time, is a part of the Terms of Use and incorporated herein by reference. User is solely responsible for reviewing the Privacy Policy.

International Use

Although the Website may be accessible worldwide, ACA makes no representation that materials on the Website are appropriate or available for use in locations outside the United States and accessing them from territories where their contents are illegal is prohibited. Users who access the Website from other locations do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws. Any offer for any product, services and/or information made in connection with this Website is void where prohibited.

Termination of Use

User agrees that ACA may, in ACA’s sole discretion, terminate or suspend User’s access to all or part of the Website with or without notice and for any reason, including, without limitation, breach of the Terms of Use. Any suspected fraudulent, abusive or illegal activity may be grounds for terminating User’s relationship and may be referred to appropriate law enforcement authorities. Upon termination or suspension, regardless of the reasons therefore, User’s right to use the ACA Content available on the Website immediately ceases and User acknowledges and agrees that ACA may immediately deactivate or delete User’s account and all related information and files in User’s account and/or bar any further access to such files or the Website. ACA is not liable to User or any third party for any claims or damages arising out of any termination or suspension or any other actions taken by ACA in connection therewith.

Assignment

The Terms of Use may be automatically assigned by ACA in its sole discretion. User may not resell, assign or transfer any of its rights or obligations under the Terms of Use, in whole or in part, without ACA’s prior written consent and any attempt to so resell, assign or transfer will be null and void.

Attorneys’ Fees

In any action, formal or informal, initiated by ACA to enforce the Terms of Use, ACA will be entitled to costs and attorneys’ fees.

Interpretation

If a court finds any provision of the Terms of Use invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of the Terms of Use shall be interpreted so as to best affect the intent of the parties or the parties agree that the maximum period or scope legally permissible under such circumstances will be substituted for the period or scope stated herein.

Amendment

The Terms of Use may be amended at any time by ACA without specific notice to User. The latest Terms of Use will be posted on the Website, and User takes sole responsibility to periodically review the Terms of Use prior to using the Website.

Applicable Law

By using the Website, User agrees that the laws of the state of Minnesota, without regard to principles of conflict of laws, will govern these Terms of Use and any disputes relating in any way to ACA or to products or services sold or distributed by ACA and both ACA and User submit to the exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue of the state or federal court in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Payment of Fees

Fees due by User for using certain services or purchasing products are either set out in a separate agreement or described elsewhere in the Website and are the sole responsibility of User (“Fee”). Any such agreement is incorporated by reference. If User incurs a Fee, User agrees to pay all Fees. ACA will bill all Fees to User’s credit card or other automatic payment option available and provided to ACA by User. User agrees to provide ACA with accurate and complete billing information, including valid credit card information, User’s name, address and telephone number and to provide ACA with any changes in such information within five (5) calendar days of the change. If, for any reason, User’s credit card company refuses to pay the Fee, User agrees that ACA may require User to pay any unpaid amount due upon demand (“Default”) by other means acceptable to ACA. If legal action is necessary to collect any Fees due, User agrees to reimburse ACA for all expenses incurred to recover Fees due, including collection fees, attorney’s fees and other expenses.

Registration Data

In order to access some of the services on the Website, User will require an account, password and/or other information and data provided to ACA in connection with the use of the Website (“Registration Data”). By providing Registration Data, User agrees that all information provided in the Registration Data is true and accurate, User is at least eighteen (18) years of age and that User will maintain and update this information as required to keep it current, complete and accurate. User grants ACA the right to disclose to third parties certain Registration Data about User in accordance with its Privacy Policy. Registration Data is considered “Personal Information” within the Privacy Policy. ACA shall act in accordance with the terms of its Privacy Policy when handling the Registration Data. User is also responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the Registration Data, and for any and all statements made, and acts or omissions that occur by use of the account associated with the Registration Data (“Account”). User must take steps to ensure that no third-party can utilize the Registration Data or the Account. User may not transfer or share User’s Account with anyone, and ACA reserves the right to immediately terminate User’s Account in the event of any unauthorized transfer or sharing. Each Account is personal to a single User.

Exclusive Member Content

Users that are ACA members (“Members”) and in the event the Member is an entity, their properly authorized individual users, will be provided online access to valuable information relevant to the credit and collection industry on the Website and hub.acainternational.org (“Hub”), which is exclusive to Members, much of which is specifically designated as members-only content and requires User specific Registration Data and Account (“Member Content”). Members hereby acknowledge Member Content is the sole property of ACA and is included as ACA Content. Entity Members may authorize individual employee user access to Member Content, wherein each user identified in the ACA user roster will be assigned unique Registration Data. Entity Members are responsible for the conduct of their employees that use the Website and/or the Hub. Entity Member’s responsibility for employee conduct does not absolve the employee of their personal responsibility to comply with Terms of Use. Additions, deletions, and modifications to a Member’s information, and employee roster, must be made by the Member’s designated contact. Members are required to maintain an up-to-date and accurate roster. Rosters must timely reflect changes regarding inactive email addresses and Users who have separated from employment. Only those employees physically located at the approved Member geographical location may be provided access. In no event may any entity Member add a non-employee to its user roster, or otherwise allow non-employees access to Member Content through the Member’s Account. Hub use must comply with ACA’s Hub Terms of Access as they may be amended from time to time, which is incorporated herein by reference. If the Member learns a User identified in the Member’s user roster, or otherwise through the Member’s Account, has improperly accessed or disseminated information originating from ACA or violated the Terms of Use, the Member must report the event to ACA immediately and take appropriate corrective action, which shall include, but not exclusively: (a) preventing further unauthorized access; (b) issuing notice to all known and suspected unauthorized recipients of the breach; (c) providing to ACA a disclosure of all known recipients of Member Content; (d) destroying or returning all information improperly retrieved or disseminated; and (e) cooperating with ACA in such a manner as ACA may determine appropriate under the circumstances to avoid further harm.

Delivery

Unless in downloadable format, most product orders placed with ACA are delivered via FedEx, UPS and USPS, within four (4) business days to two (2) weeks of ordering the product. Back orders can take up to six (6) weeks depending on the type of product ordered. User will pay all shipping charges for ordered and returned items. Shipping charges are subject to change without prior notification to User.

Limitation of Liability

ACA Content is presented for educational, general reference and informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal or other advice. ACA does not represent or warrant that ACA Content is accurate, complete or current for any specific or particular purpose or application. ACA Content is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area, nor should it be used to replace the advice of your own legal counsel.

ACA CONTENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS.” ACA MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND AS TO ACA CONTENT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NONINFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED BY ACA IN WRITING. BY USING ACA CONTENT IN ANY WAY, WHETHER OR NOT AUTHORIZED, USER ASSUMES ALL RISK AND HEREBY RELEASES ACA FROM ANY LIABILITY ASSOCIATED WITH ACA CONTENT, UNLESS SEPARATELY PROVIDED IN WRITING BY ACA IN A SEPARATE CONTRACT.

Risk of Loss

All items purchased from ACA are made pursuant to a shipment contract. This means that the risk of loss and title for such items pass to User upon our delivery to the carrier.

FURTHER, ACA SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR THIRD PARTY GOODS AND SERVICES OFFERED THROUGH THE WEBSITE OR FOR ASSISTANCE IN CONDUCTING COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS THROUGH THIS WEBSITE INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE PROCESSING OF ORDERS.

Updated 3/1/2019

 

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The content on this site is presented for educational, general reference, and informational purposes only; is not intended to serve as legal or other advice; is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area; and should not replace the advice of your own legal counsel. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the legal disclaimers in our Terms of Use. Review our Terms of Use for more information.

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