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Vancouver Debt Collection Attorney

Vancouver Debt Collection Attorney in Washington & Oregon

A debtor is someone who owes money to someone else. Generally, it is not a crime to fail to pay a debt. There are, of course, exceptions. For instance, the failure to pay some court-ordered debts, such as child support or criminal fines, may lead to criminal charges. Under some circumstances, the failure to pay taxes could have criminal consequences. Except in certain bankruptcy situations, a debtor can choose to pay debts in any priority. Consult an experienced Vancouver debt collection attorney to find out whether this applies to you.

Do You Owe A Debt?

Debts often arise from the failure to follow a contract or agreement between you and a creditor. Most oral and written agreements for the repayment of consumer debts (debts for personal, family, or household purposes, and debts secured primarily by a person’s residence) are enforceable. However, most debts that are for business or commercial purposes must be in writing to be enforceable.

If the agreement requires you to pay a certain amount of money, the creditor does not have to accept a lesser amount. Even if you have lost your job, became ill, or just cannot afford to pay the debt, you still owe the amount stated in the agreement. Even if there was no actual agreement, you still can be liable to the creditor. This happens when the creditor has lent you money, performed services, or provided you with a product and you have kept the product or benefited from the services

What is a Debt Collector?

If you owe money, the creditor may assign the debt to a debt collector, which is typically a collection agency. The creditor may hire an attorney to collect the debt. The attorney may also be considered a debt collector. The debt collector may send you a letter or other notice requesting payment. If the debt is based on a consumer transaction, a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act goes into effect. It requires the debt collector to provide you with written information within five days of the first communication.

This information must describe the debt. It also must include the name of the original creditor and your right to dispute the debt. If you orally dispute this debt, or any portion of it, within 30 days after receiving the notice, the debt collector cannot assume it is valid. If you dispute the debt in writing within this 30-day period, the debt collector must stop any further contact with you until sending you verification of the debt. The fact that you do not respond to the debt collector’s notice cannot be used as evidence that you owe the debt. The foregoing does not apply if the debt collector has purchased the debt from the creditor.

Contact our trusted Vancouver debt collection attorney if you need legal assistance disputing a debt in Washington and Oregon.

Debt Collection Act in Oregon

Oregon has a law called the Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act. It controls how a creditor may try to collect a debt, whether by letter or phone call. Unlawful debt collection practices include the use of obscene or abusive language. The creditor cannot call your employer about the debt or call you at your place of work if you have notified the creditor not to do so. The creditor may call you at work only after he or she has tried calling you at home during the day or between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and not reached you. A creditor can write to you at work only if your home address is not available. In either case, the creditor may contact you at work only once a week. A creditor who willfully violates this law may be liable to you for minimum damages of $200, your legal fees, and in some cases punitive damages.

If you’re dealing with unlawful collection practices from creditors and debt collectors in Washington and Oregon, get in touch with our Vancouver debt collection attorney today!

Buying and Selling of Debts

A creditor may sell your debt to a collection agency. This means that the collection agency buys the right to collect the debt. A collection agency may be operated by one person, or it may be a nationwide business. A collection agency has no greater rights than the original creditor. Generally, however, the amount of your debt will be increased because it has been assigned to a collection agency. Debt collectors — both collection agencies and lawyers who try collecting debts — must comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as Oregon state law. The federal law prohibits a debt collector from communicating with anyone about a debt except for those involved in the debt-collection process. This includes you, your spouse or your parents if you are a minor. The debt collector may not harass you or call you at work if the debt collector knows that your employer prohibits that type of communication. A debt collector is also subject to the same collection rules as an original creditor.


Don’t wait until the last minute to take action. Avoid a default judgment and stop collection efforts by taking a step forward today!

The Debt Collections Process

Security Agreement

When you purchase an item on credit, you normally sign a security agreement. After signing off on a security agreement, if you go on to fail to make the monthly payments per the terms of the agreement, the creditor may try to repo the purchased item. This often happens when you buy a major item like furniture, jewelry, or cars and fail to make the installment payments. Though the creditor can repossess its collateral, it cannot enter your house without permission, assault you or take the collateral if you physically try to stop them from repossessing it.

If, on the other hand, you have not actually executed a written security agreement, the creditor cannot seize any of your property without first obtaining a judgment against you. In order to do this, the original creditor or a collection agency to which it has assigned your account must sue you to collect a debt.

Complaints or Summons

If this happens, you will be served with a summons and complaint. If you want to dispute liability or the amount of the debt, you must file a timely response with the court. You must file a response within 14 days of the date you are served if you are sued in small claims court. In Oregon, you must file a response within 30 days of the date you are served if you are not sued in small claims court, and in Washington, you must file a response within 24 days. The clock starts ticking from the moment you are served.

Filing a Motion

Filing a response means filing a motion or answer. It is important to track on the date that you were served as the complaint generally does not reflect the date of service. If you do not file a response or go to court and lose, the creditor gets a judgment. This judgment will include the amount of debt and may include interest, court costs, and the creditor’s legal fees. It may also create a judgment lien upon any real property that you own.

Our debt defense attorneys in Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon can provide legal assistance and representation in filing a motion to court and keeping track of important court dates. Call us at 866-388-5106 today to schedule a consultation.

Statute of Limitations

Every claim is subject to a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time within which a lawsuit must be filed. There are different statutes of limitations depending on the form of the claim. There also are a host of exceptions to the statute of limitations. For example, if you filed bankruptcy within the statute of limitations period, the time that you spent in bankruptcy would not count towards the statute of limitations. Also, if you made a payment during the statute of limitations that would work to restart the clock from the date of your last payment. Remember also that the stature of limitations must actually be raised in your response to the lawsuit. Unless you raise it, the other side will get a judgment regardless of whether its claim was time-barred.


A judgment is not a court order that directs you to hand over any money. Rather it is a way for the court to confirm that you owe the creditor a certain amount of money. If the creditor wants to actually collect any money from you on the judgment, it must take additional action. While it is relatively rare, the creditor could try to collect your debt by having the sheriff take some of your real or personal property to sell at a public sale. After deductions for any exemptions and the costs of the sale, the proceeds of the sale would then be applied to pay the judgment and any remaining funds remitted to you. More often, the creditor will simply send on an order to your bank to empty your checking and savings accounts. Even more commonly, the creditor will send a writ of garnishment to your employer to begin taking twenty-five percent of your wages

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Northwest Debt Defense Law Firm

650 NE Holladay St, Suite 1640
Portland, OR 97232, United States

NW Debt Defense Law Firm is a Debt Relief Agency. Where appropriate we file petitions for relief under the Bankruptcy Code solely for consumers in the District of Oregon. We represent both Oregon and Washington consumers in collections law suits in Oregon and Washington state courts.


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