Materials Recovery Service: Overview

Materials Recovery FAQ

1. Why has the library contracted with a collection agency?
2. What is a collection agency?
3. Which accounts are sent to the collection agency?
4. How do I prevent my account from going to collection?
5. What will happen to library accounts that are sent to the collection agency?
6.I was contacted by the collection agency.  What should I do?
7. Will the collection agency know which items I have checked out?
8. If my account is sent to the collection agency, can I use my library card?
9. Will accounts sent to the collection agency be reported to a credit bureau?
10. How do I contact the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Public Library?
11. How do I update my account information?
12. How do I find out what is checked out to my account?
13. Can I renew items that I have checked out?
14. How can I return the items I have checked out?
15. What is a returned item?
16. Does the library notify customers about overdue items?
17. I just received an overdue notice. What should I do?
18. What about fines for overdue books?
19. I received a bill for missing/damaged items. What is that?
20. How do I pay for damages or library items that I’ve lost?
21. How long until I can use my card after I pay my bill?
22. What do I do if I find an item after I’ve paid for it?

 

1. Why has the library contracted with a collection agency?
The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library has contracted with a collection agency to help ensure the return of overdue library items. The majority of our customers return items on time and in good condition. However, there are a few who have not responded to overdue notices. The collection agency’s services will be used to reclaim materials from those customers. When library materials — books, music CDs, movies and more — are returned they are available for other customers to use and enjoy.

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2. What is a collection agency?
A collection agency is a company that pursues debts that are owed. The collection agency the Albuquerque/Bernalillo Library has enlisted is a third party, responsible for contacting library customers and encouraging them to either return their overdue items or work with the library to resolve account issues.

A collection agency is different from a credit bureau. Library customers who are contacted by the collection agency and then either return or pay for their overdue materials will not be reported to a credit bureau.

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3. Which accounts are sent to the collection agency?
Accounts that are 53 days overdue will be eligible for referral to the collection agency. For overdue accounts belonging to children, the adults who signed for the cards will be contacted by the collection agency.

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4. How do I prevent my account from going to collection?
The best way to avoid collection activity is to keep library accounts in good standing.  This can be done by:

  • Returning or renewing items before they become overdue.
  • Responding to overdue notices.
  • Contacting Customer Service Office @ 505-768-5170 or a branch library if the materials can’t be found.
  • Making sure that the library has current contact information – mailing address, phone number and/or email address – to help ensure that notices are received. [ For more information see question #11 ]

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5. What will happen to library accounts that are sent to the collection agency?

  • Accounts submitted to the collection agency will be assessed a processing fee of $18.00.
  • The collection agency will contact customers and encourage them to return the library materials they have checked out OR contact the library and pay for the items.
  • The collection agency will contact customers multiple times by both telephone and mail.
  • Accounts will remain suspended until the items are returned in good condition or paid for, and the collection agency fee has been paid.

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6. I was contacted by the collection agency.  What should I do?

Return the borrowed items to any Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library. Returning the items in good condition clears the bill and stops collection activity.

If the materials are lost, they need to be paid for.

Charges for lost or damaged items and the $18 collection agency fee can be paid at any Albuquerque/Bernalillo County library with cash, check or money order, or by credit card online by logging into My Account.

Customers who are unable to pay their accounts in full should contact the Customer Services Office to set up payment plans.

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7. Will the collection agency know which items I have checked out?
No. Details such as title, author and types of items checked out will not be shared with the collection agency. The collection agency will receive only the dollar amount the customer’s account has been billed. 

Customers whose accounts have been sent to the collection agency may contact the library to get a list of the items they have checked out. [see question #12 for more information].

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8. If my account is sent to the collection agency, can I use my library card?
Library privileges are suspended for accounts that have been listed with the collection agency. Once materials are returned in good condition or paid for, and the $18 collection agency fee is paid, customers may begin using their cards to check out materials. Customers who want to use the Library's public PCs may do so the day after all outstanding issues with their accounts have been resolved.

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9. Will accounts sent to the collection agency be reported to a credit bureau?
Accounts that have been listed with the collection agency for 120 days and are unresolved may be reported to a credit bureau.

Credit reporting is a last resort that can be avoided by returning or paying for the library materials. The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library wants to work with customers to return their accounts to good standing.

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10. How do I contact the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Public Library?

  • Contact Customer Service:
    • Call 505-768-5170: Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.
    • OR visit the Customer Service office on the second floor of the Main Library: Monday-Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Visit one of our branch libraries. Branch information can also be found by calling the City of Albuquerque’s information line – 311.

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11. How do I update my account information?
To quickly update telephone and email contact information, log into My Account .
To confirm or update a mailing address and/or get a new library card, stop in to any branch library. Bring a current photo ID and, if available, the library card. Proof of address is also required to update mailing address information.
   

12. How do I find out what is checked out to my account?
Get a list of materials checked out to an account:

  • online by logging into My Account.
  • by calling the Customer Service Office @ 505-768-5170 or any branch library– please have the library card number handy when making this call.
  • by visiting any branch library.

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13. Can I renew items that I have checked out?
Yes, all items may be renewed up to six times, unless they have been requested by other customers or have been billed because they are overdue. Digital books and digital movies are not renewable

Items can be renewed:

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14. How can I return the items I have checked out?
Items can be returned to any of the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System libraries, regardless of where they were checked out. All buildings have book drops for after-hours convenience. Note: Special Collections Library is a reference facility and is unable to accept returns.

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15. What is a returned item?
An item is considered returned when it is placed in the Book Return area of any library during open hours, or when it is securely deposited in a Book Drop.

Please do not leave library items outside a library building or next to a book drop, and do not try to force items into any of the book drops. If a book drop is full or jammed, the library recommends returning the items at another time.

Remember, customers are responsible for all items checked out to their cards until they are safely returned inside the library.  Items returned complete and in good condition will be checked in and removed from the customers’ records.

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16. Does the library notify customers about overdue items?
The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System does keep customers informed of the status of their accounts.

  • 14 Days Overdue (4 Days for VHS and DVD items): the library issues an overdue notice, reminding the customer to return or renew the item.
  • 28 Days Overdue (7 Days for VHS and DVD items): the customer account is temporarily suspended and billed for the replacement cost of the item.  A notice of this action is sent to the customer. Returning the item in good condition clears the bill and allows the customer to begin using his/her library card again.
  • 53 Days Overdue: the account may be referred to the collection agency.

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17. I just received an overdue notice. What should I do?
Take a look around for the items – under the couch, in the car, anywhere they could be hiding out. If they’re nowhere to be found, contact the Customer Service Office @ 505- 768-5170 – they’re there to help. The library is always willing to work with customers to keep their accounts in good standing.

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18. What about fines for overdue books?
The Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System does not charge overdue fines. Please return your books on time.

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19. I received a bill for missing/damaged items. What is that?
When items are returned damaged or missing pieces, the customer who checked out the item(s) is billed for replacement costs. Please check all items for completeness before returning them to the library.
Examples:

  • Missing items: DVD cases returned empty or Books on CD returned missing discs.
  • Damaged items include, but are not limited to: mildew, water, stains, and torn pages.

Questions? visit the nearest branch library or call the Customer Service Office @ 505-768-5170.

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20. How do I pay for damages or library items that I’ve lost?
The Customer Service Office and library branches accept payments by cash, check or money order for lost and damaged items. When paying by check or money order, make sure to include the number of the billed account (that’s the library card number) with the payment.

Customers can pay by credit card through the library’s website by logging into My Account. or at the catalog terminals in a branch library.

The Customer Service Office is able to work with customers to set up payment plans that meet their needs and abilities.

 

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21. How long until I can use my card after I pay my bill?
Customers can use their library cards as soon as their accounts are paid in full. SmartCard holders whose accounts have been listed with the collection agency may begin using the Library's public PCs the day after their accounts are paid in full.

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22. What do I do if I find an item after I’ve paid for it?


If you find the item…

  • And the payment was for at least $5
  • And the item is in good condition
  • Bring the item and receipt to any Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library
    within 60 days
  • Refund checks are mailed in 10 to 12 weeks
  • Payments for Missing Media, Donated Materials, Late Charges, and Damage Charges are not refundable

   Questions?

    Visit or call the branch library listed on your bill or call the Customer Service Office
   @ 505-768-5170

    

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