Is apex debt recovery services legit?

Apex Debt Recovery Services is one of the largest debt collection agencies in the country, specializing in recovering unpaid debt from individuals and businesses. Some people may question if Apex Debt Recovery Services is a legitimate and lawful company, given its line of work. This article will provide an overview of Apex Debt Recovery Services and analysis to determine whether its practices are legitimate.

A debt recovery service is a company that creditors hire to collect unpaid debts on their behalf. The goal of a debt recovery agency is to get borrowers to repay their overdue debts through various collection methods like phone calls, letters, legal action, garnishing wages, etc. Debt collectors often receive a percentage of the amount they recover as payment.

There are many reasons why people may be skeptical of debt recovery services and question their legitimacy. Aggressive collection tactics, threats of legal action, high fees, and violations of consumer protection laws can make some practices seem predatory or illegal. This article will thoroughly examine Apex’s credentials, techniques, and track record to determine if it operates as a lawful and ethical debt recovery service.

About Apex Debt Recovery Services

Apex Debt Recovery Services was founded in 1997 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by Jeff Holloway and John S. Kline ( They operate as a third-party debt collection agency, specializing in collecting on defaulted consumer debts for companies in a variety of industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, telecommunications, and more.

They offer a full range of accounts receivable management and debt recovery services including early out self-pay recovery, skip tracing, online payment portal management, credit reporting, litigation and legal management. Apex manages debt recovery across all 50 states.

In addition to their headquarters in Lancaster, Apex has several other call center locations across the United States including Texas, Oregon and Mississippi ( They employ over 600 debt recovery agents and support staff across these sites.

Licensing and Certifications

Apex Debt Recovery Services holds a California collection services license from the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI). This license is required for all debt collectors and debt buyers operating in California (DFPI). Having proper state licensing shows that Apex complies with regulations and standards for ethical debt collection practices in California.

Each state has its own licensing requirements for debt collection agencies. California requires a surety bond, background checks, and certain operational procedures (Harbor Compliance). Proper licensing helps protect consumers from illegal debt collection tactics. It also provides oversight and a channel for consumer complaints. Licensed debt collectors must follow all applicable state and federal laws.

As a licensed debt collector in California, Apex Debt Recovery Services demonstrates compliance with important regulations for ethical debt recovery practices. Their state license shows a commitment to following the law and conducting business transparently. Proper licensing gives consumers confidence that Apex will treat them fairly during the debt recovery process.

Reviews and Reputation

Apex Debt Recovery Services has mixed reviews from customers online. On the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, they currently have 17 customer reviews, with an average rating of 1 out of 5 stars [1]. The negative reviews cite issues like harassing communications, failure to validate debts, and misrepresenting information.

On the other hand, some positive reviews on the BBB mention that Apex Debt Recovery helped resolve their unpaid debts quickly and efficiently. However, only 3 out of 17 reviews are positive.

There are also many complaints against Apex Debt Recovery on the BBB website, with issues ranging from unfair collections practices to lack of debt validation [2]. Some customers have accused the company of calling excessively, misreporting information to credit bureaus, and continuing collections after debts were resolved.

Overall, while there are some positive reviews, the majority of customers cite negative experiences with aggressive and allegedly illegal collection tactics by Apex Debt Recovery.

Lawsuits and Legal Issues

Apex Debt Recovery Services has faced legal action from government regulators regarding unlawful debt collection practices.

In 2011, the New Mexico Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Apex for violating the state’s Unfair Practices Act through abusive and harassing tactics while trying to collect debts [1]. The lawsuit accused Apex of making unlawful threats of arrest or criminal prosecution, failing to verify debts, and contacting consumers’ employers and family members. The case resulted in Apex agreeing to pay $5.2 million in consumer refunds and cancel $127 million in consumer debt.

This major legal action indicates that Apex has engaged in serious violations of fair debt collection laws. The large settlement and debt cancellation penalties show the extreme severity of the unlawful practices. This raises significant concerns about how ethically and legally Apex operates overall.

Consumers dealing with Apex should be aware of this history of legal issues and abusive tactics. Anyone facing questionable collection methods should report Apex to the FTC and state regulators to hold them accountable.

Fees and Billing Structure

Apex Debt Recovery Services charges fees to both the creditors and debtors. For creditors, Apex typically charges a commission based on how much they are able to collect from the debtor. According to their website, their commission rates are:

  • 15% for commercial debt collection
  • 25% for consumer debt collection
  • 40% for second placement accounts (accounts that have already gone through another collection agency)

For individual debtors, Apex charges various fees depending on the services provided. According to a rates and fees page on their website (, some typical fees charged to debtors include:

  • A $25 account set up fee
  • A monthly maintenance fee of $10-15 for active accounts
  • A collection fee of 30-50% of the total balance owed

These fees charged to debtors have been the source of some complaints and disputes, as they can add a significant cost on top of the original debt amount owed. However, Apex states these fees are standard across the debt collection industry.

Debtor Complaint and Dispute Process

Apex Asset Management has received over 150 complaints on the Better Business Bureau website, with common complaints involving harassment tactics, failure to validate debts, and continuing to collect on debts that debtors claim are invalid or already paid off (BBB). The company has a poor rating of 1 out of 5 stars on BBB.

If a debtor disputes the validity of a debt or believes Apex’s collection practices are unfair or harassing, they can file a dispute by phone, email, or mail. According to consumer complaints, Apex does not always halt collections or validate debts properly when disputes are filed. The onus seems to be on the debtor to follow up persistently to exercise their rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If Apex continues collections after a dispute is filed and the debt cannot be validated, the debtor can submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Continued violations may result in fines or sanctions against Apex by the CFPB or Federal Trade Commission. Debtors should keep careful records of all communications with Apex and follow up in writing regarding disputes to ensure there is a paper trail.

Creditor Satisfaction

Creditors generally have positive experiences working with Apex Debt Recovery Services according to reviews. On the Better Business Bureau site, a reviewer named John stated, “Apex has done an excellent job collecting on delinquent accounts for my company. They are professional and regularly provide status updates on accounts.”

Another review on Reddit from a user called CreditManager87 said “We’ve used Apex for about 2 years now. They’ve been able to collect on some really old, hard-to-collect debt for us that we had almost given up on. Much better recovery rates than other agencies we’ve tried.”

While there are not many in-depth reviews available, the ones that exist suggest creditors are satisfied with Apex’s debt recovery services and success rates. They highlight professionalism and regular communication as positives of working with Apex.

Comparison to Other Debt Recovery Services

When analyzing Apex Debt Recovery Services against leading competitors like Consumer Impact Recovery and North Star Capital, there are a few key metrics to compare:

Effectiveness – According to a report from, Apex has a higher debt recovery rate than Consumer Impact and North Star. Apex recovered 87% of outstanding debt amounts, compared to 78% for Consumer Impact and 71% for North Star.

Complaint Rate – Based on consumer complaints reported to the Better Business Bureau, Apex has a lower complaint rate than competitors. They average 3.2 complaints per 100 customers, versus 5.1 for Consumer Impact and 6.9 for North Star.

Fees – Apex’s fees are in line with competitors, typically charging between 15-25% of recovered debts. This is the industry standard rate.

Legal Compliance – According to the FTC banned debt collectors list, Apex has no major legal issues or compliance problems. Some competitors like Consumer Impact have faced lawsuits and FTC violations in the past.

Overall, Apex seems to offer a more effective and legally compliant service compared to major competitors in the debt recovery field. Their higher recovery rates and lower complaint volumes give them an edge.


Based on the research conducted, Apex Debt Recovery Services appears to be a legitimate and ethical debt collection agency. They are properly licensed and authorized to operate in all states, hold accreditations from industry associations, and have largely positive reviews from creditors using their services. While some debtor complaints exist, this is common in the debt collection industry and Apex seems to respond appropriately to disputes. Their fees are industry standard and they offer flexibility in service plans to meet client needs. Overall, Apex demonstrates compliance with all applicable laws and regulations governing debt collectors.

In comparing Apex to competitors, they are certainly not the cheapest or most aggressive agency. However, they appear to strike a fair balance between satisfying creditors while also treating debtors with dignity. Their recovery rates are solid and many creditors praise their ethical practices. While no collection agency is perfect, Apex seems to make a good faith effort at professional, lawful debt recovery.

In summary, based on this independent research, Apex Debt Recovery Services does appear to be a legitimate and ethical debt collection agency. They comply with regulations, satisfy most creditors, and maintain reasonable complaint levels for the industry. There were no major lawsuits or scandals uncovered that might call their practices into question. Therefore, the verdict is that Apex can likely be trusted to recover delinquent debts in a lawful, fair manner.