It may not be well-known to consumers, but there are cases where debtors commit suicide due to the stress and anxiety brought about by the dirty tactics employed by collection agencies.
Do not allow your debt to become a death sentence. You have a strong weapon you can use against ruthless debt collectors: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
This federal legislation not only compels collectors to conduct their business professionally; it also allows debtors to go after them via civil lawsuits for damages and monetary compensation.
Washington's Debt Collection Laws
Many states enforce laws almost identical to the federal FDCPA, including Washington state. The added state laws are contained in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), particularly RCW 19.16.100 (the Collection Agency Act) and RCW 19.86.010 (the Consumer Protection Act).
The FDCPA and these two other statutes provide consumers with protection from unscrupulous debt collectors.
Thanks to these laws, collection agencies need to adhere to certain provisions, and failing to do so will hold them legally liable for unscrupulous collection methods. These agencies are required to:
- Acquire a license to be able to legally collect debts
- Post a bond to become a valid collection agency
- Provide required information upon initial contact with debtor
- Not communicate with a third party about the debt or threaten to do so
- Not make threats or engage in harassing actions
- Refrain from misleading or false representations
A Washington FDCPA attorney can determine whether you have a good civil case against a debt collector and allow you to claim relief for your suffering that resulted from their inappropriate actions.
Relevant Statutes of Limitations in Washington
There are many cases when a creditor or a collection agency will file a lawsuit against you for your failure to pay on time. However, this right is subject to time limitations referred to as a statute of limitations (SOL).
When this time expires, the debt is time-barred, which means creditors or collectors may no longer sue you. This SOL varies by state and in Washington, the following applies:
- Accounts receivable or orally contracted debts – 3 year SOL
- Credit card debts – 6 year SOL
- Debts acquired via written contracts -6 year SOL
- Promissory notes – 6 year SOL
Notably, if a collection agency manages to coerce you to pay a partial amount of your outstanding debt, the debt is reactivated and the statute of limitations will restart. To make sure you won't be fooled by these stipulations, contact an FDCPA attorney in Washington. This attorney can serve as your guide through this confusing process.
An Expert Washington FDCPA Attorney is Available to Help
Given the complexities involved in starting a claim for damages against a debt collector, it can be helpful to acquire the assistance of an expert Washington FDCPA attorney.
With your attorney’s help, you can win your case and be awarded with remedies. The following are some of the liabilities that a collection agency would face if it violated the FDCPA and the other collection laws in Washington:
- Actual damages, which in some courts will include emotional distress and mental anguish
- Statutory damages
- Additional damages capped at $1,000
- Legal cost and attorneys’ fees, which can easily reach $10,000 to $15,000
Any debtor whose rights have been violated by a debt collector in Washington may get help from an FDCPA attorney in Washington. Whether you live in Seattle, Spokane or Leavenworth, you have the protection of the FDCPA and the supporting state laws.
Get a Free Evaluation
If you believe that your rights have been violated under the FDCPA and think that the law will help you win a claim, you can talk to an attorney by getting a free evaluation now. A Washington FDCPA attorney will immediately be connected to you to help you with your claim for damages.