The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted to establish laws that enable legal agencies to oversee consumer debt collection practices and make sure consumer debtors are treated fairly. The FDCPA provides directions that are very detailed regarding how debts must be verified by collection agencies and clarifies how consumers can dispute the validity of debts that the debt collector are pursuing.
The Act specifies debt collectors cannot call to collect debts between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. while limiting the frequency a collector can contact a debtor. If you are a Washington resident who has been the victim of a debt collector who does not adhere to the FDCPA, you could be eligible to file a civil suit for $1,000 in damages. You should consult with an FDCPA attorney in Washington so you can stop the calls from the debt collectors!
Washington FDCPA Laws and How They Work
While the FDCPA was designed to protect people all across the country, states can enact legislation that adds some extra protection. The Washington collection agency law regulators debt collectors in Washington state and provides protection if a debt collector is pursuing debt collection from you.
In Washington, debt collectors must be licensed and bonded, deceptive and unfair actions are prohibited during debt collection, and it also regulates how a debt collector can communicate with a debtor. The state law prohibits several actions.
It keeps debt collectors from publishing a list of bad debts with your name on it, threatening to sell your debt to coerce you to pay, threaten to report you to a credit reporting agency unless there is actual intent to do so, use any name other than its licensed name, pretend it is contacting you because of an emergency, or add fees that the contract doesn't permit.
Differences in FDCPA and Washington FDCPA Laws
The Washington laws are more precise and definitive in regarding the description of a debt collector, but very similar in nature to the FDCPA description. State law says those whose businesses focus on the collection of debts for others are covered, but original creditors are not in regards to the law.
Here are the different collectors who don't have to be licensed in Washington: Original creditors, billing services, and law firms that are not in the regular business of collecting debts. Washington law is very specific in what activities are prohibited by debt collectors. Any documentation from debt collectors must include the licensee name and business address, the name of the original creditor, when you last made a payment to the original creditor and a statement that includes the original amount of the debt and schedule of any additional charges.
The state law also prohibits debt collectors from communicating with anyone else or threatening to do so and prohibits collectors from harassing or threatening you because of unpaid debts. State law prohibits debt collectors from making you incur unnecessary charges on your cell phones, so collectors can't call or send text messages more than twice a day if they know you are using a cell phone.
Consult with a Washington FDCPA Attorney
If you are a resident of Washington who has been the victim of a debt collector who has violated the FDCPA or state laws, you should consult with a Washington FDCPA attorney. An FDCPA attorney can file civil action requesting $1,000 or more in damages on your behalf. An attorney can also ensure the harassing phone calls are put to an end.