Washington State law prohibits intimidating, threatening, or harassing conduct in connection with the collection of a debt.
The Washington State Department of Licensing can take disciplinary action against a collection agency’s license if they violate the Washington State Collection Agency Act.
If you feel your rights have been violated, call the Washington State Department of Licensing at (360) 664-1421. You can also file a complaint with the Department of Licensing at http://www.dol.wa.gov/.
Debt Collection Laws
When contacting you, collection agencies aren’t allowed to:
- Charge you for collect calls or telegram fees.
- Contact you or your spouse more than 3 times a week.
- Communicate with you at your workplace more than once a week.
- Communicate with you or your spouse at your home before 7:30 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you request they contact you during alternate hours.
- Use offensive language.
- Make threats of force, violence, or criminal prosecution such as jail time or taking of personal property (doesn’t include filing a court case to obtain a judgment).
- Threaten you with an impaired credit rating if you don’t pay the debt (doesn't include telling you the debt will be reported to a credit reporting agency, which may affect your credit rating).
- Communicate directly with you if they’ve been notified in writing by your attorney to contact the attorney about your debt.
- Any additional fee not authorized by law (doesn’t include attorney’s fees and taxable court costs awarded by a judge).
- On a written note, contract, or stipulation where you’re required to pay any amount other than the original debt, allowable interest, and applicable attorney’s fees and taxable court costs.
DFI has issued several alerts regarding debt collection scams targeting Washington residents. You can find the alerts at www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/alerts.htm