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Laws for Debt Collection Practices

Vancouver WA debt defense attorneys

It can be stressful dealing with debt collectors. You’re already in deep financial trouble and you’ve got these debt collection agencies contacting you repeatedly. 

While the creditors do have a right to their money, some laws regulate the debt collection practices to prevent unfair and borderline abusive tactics. In this article, we’ll discuss how the debt collection process looks and how laws prohibit debt collectors from harassing you.

If you feel like you’re facing deceptive tactics and an obscene number of collection calls, give us a call. Our experienced Vancouver WA debt defense attorneys will protect you from harassment and debt-collection lawsuits.


Debt Collection Process

Usually, the debt collection process goes through three phases: 


The first phase is when your creditor’s collector will deal with your debt. They are called the first-party and you can expect them to continue this phase for the first six months of delinquency. 

This is the best time for you to settle the debt because there is no middleman and the creditor will likely want to keep a positive relationship with you. 


Third-Party Agency

After some time, your lender will realize that you will not repay the debt you owe. Then they will assign a third-party debt collection agency. At this point, it’s still the original creditor who owns the debt, and the third party will earn a commission from successfully collecting the amount owed. 


Debt Buyer

For the final phase, your original creditor will sell your debt to a debt buyer. At this point, the creditor has written off the debt and will no longer be involved in the process. 

Recently, creditors have been surrendering delinquent accounts over to debt collection law firms versus bill collectors. With a lawyer on the debt collection side, you should have your legal counsel to guide you. Get in touch with our Vancouver WA debt defense firm to shield you from legal action.


First Contact with a Debt Collector

Debt collectors are allowed to use any means of communication to get in touch with you: phones, emails, text messages, or physical letters. They are prohibited from using these communication methods to harass you. 

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provides rules for agencies to follow for making contact with you to collect a debt. 

These rules are:  

  • When contacting you, they have to identify themselves as a debt collecting agency, along with their name and business address.
  • They have to tell you:
    • who the creditor is (whether a business or an individual); 
    • how much you owe them;
    • what steps you can take to verify or dispute the debt.
  • If they fail to give you the information on their first contact, they have to send a written notice with the necessary information within five days. 

You are allowed to ask the debt collector whatever questions you want in the first contact. Use this right to obtain as much information as you need but you have to be careful about what you say. Do not say anything that can be interpreted as an admission that you owe the debt.


Debt Collection Laws


Collectors are entitled to collect the debt they owe. However, they have to follow the FDCPA when deciding what methods to employ.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act : 

  • Prevents an agency from telling your friends, employer, neighbors, or even family about your debt;
  • Gives a time window within the day for when collection calls can happen;
  • Prohibits threats, insults, obscenities, or slurs;
  • Has remedies for those who want to stop all contact from collection agencies;
  • Requires collectors to verify the debts and to end collection if they cannot verify them. 



Most US collection agencies are a part of ACA International, a nonprofit group that represents creditors, collections agencies, collection attorneys, debt buyers, and others within the industry. ACA has its regulations and code of ethics that its members have to abide by.

Members of the ACA are required to:

  • Treat consumers with respect and consideration;
  • Communicate with integrity and honesty;
  • Refrain harming or defrauding consumers. 

If you feel like a debt collector has violated your rights, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Our Vancouver WA debt defense attorneys can represent you in court to protect your rights as a consumer. Call our office today to schedule a consultation. 


What to Do if Debt Collectors Sue

It’s common for people to panic when getting sued by debt collectors. After all, they already have other financial problems to deal with and the collection agencies calling just adds to the stress. 

The important thing to do is to respond, whether or not you owe the debt. A response can mean writing and appearing in court according to a set deadline. 

Ignoring a debt collection lawsuit can give you more trouble than you already have. By responding, you have more control over how to pay off your debts and lessen your overall expenses.  

Here are the steps you can take when you’re sued by debt collectors:

  • Answer. The notice of the lawsuit will tell you how to do this: either respond in writing or show up in court.
  • Review your debt. Look for the records of your debt for any information, including the amount of debt you owe and the validation documents sent by the collectors. 
  • Look for any discrepancies. There may be issues with the lawsuit that can make it so you don’t have to pay it off. From honest mistakes to sleazy tactics, you may find incorrect information. Maybe someone with the same name owes the debt, or the amount you owed was already paid off, or maybe the statute of limitations had passed. 

If you’re not in the right headspace to deal with a lawsuit, you can call our skilled Vancouver WA debt defense attorneys to help you out! 


Final Thoughts

No matter how much a debtor owes, they still have consumer protection rights against collectors looking to take advantage of their vulnerability

It can be confusing and complex to deal with a debt collection lawsuit. The worst thing you can do is ignore it. Our experienced attorneys at Northwest Debt Defense have helped clients in  Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, Washington as well as Portland, Salem, and Medford, Oregon. 

Call our debt defense law office today for a free debt analysis!


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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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