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Debt Relief Guide

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Washington Debt Relief Laws

Washington Revised Code Sections 19.16.100 to 19.16.950, which addresses debt collector behavior is similar to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (FDCP). Some important rules include :

  • Debt collection agencies can’t publish your name as being on the “bad debt” list
  • Collectors cannot misrepresent themselves as being a law enforcement personnel, attorney or government official
  • Debt collectors cannot threaten or promote your debt in advertisement as being for sale
  • The debt collection agency must reveal it’s true name and address, the original creditor and fees
  • Debt collectors can only call debtors between the ages of 8am and 9pm
  • Collection agencies cannot send you documents that appear to be “official business”
  • You cannot be sent communications from debt collection agencies via postcard
  • Collectors cannot trick you into paying for a telegram or collect calls

Washington State allows consumers to sue debt collection agencies under the Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices law. Additionally, consumers can pursue legal action through the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Washington Statue of Limitations (SOL)

Washington has a three-year statue of limitation (SOL) on open accounts such as credit cards, meaning that the creditor can contact you for up to three years. For written contracts creditors can pursue you for up to six years. Consumers can consider Washington debt settlement during the time the account remains open.

In Washington, certain non-income wages are protected from garnishment:

  • Pensions: Washington provides broad protection for retirement benefits and provides exemptions for public employees, federal, municipal in addition to private pensions and IRA and 401(k) distributions
  • Public benefits/assistance-- like many states, Washington provides protection for workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, crime victim’s compensation and veteran’s benefits and aid to the blind, aged and disabled
  • Insurance and annuity protection--annuities are exempt up to $2,500 per month, fraternal society benefits, disability and life insurance

Washington Credit Card Debt Relief Act of 2010

The Credit Card Debt Relief Act of 2010 has streamlined the methods for repaying debt and regulated how collectors work with debtors. The Act has impacted debt relief collections several ways:

  • The number of fraudulent or weak performing credit card companies are gone
  • Reduces the chances of falling victim to fraudulent debt settlement companies due to new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reforms
  • Increased, open communication from creditors--more information is provided to help you eliminate your loans
  • Debt settlement companies cannot request upfront fees from clients

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