"Collections" refers to the practices engaged in by creditors designed to obtain payment from debtors who are not interested in paying what they owe. In Bellingham, Washington, there are countless laws which carefully limit the practices that collections agencies can engage in.
What if I Am Owed Money in Bellingham, Washington?
If someone owes you money and declines to pay it, you have various options at your disposal. However, when it comes to collecting their debts, creditors are governed by specific consumer protection rules. Violation of these rules while attempting to collect could hurt your chances at effectively recovering your money, and/or subject you to civil penalties.
For example, it should go without mentioning that creditors are not allowed to use threatened or actual violence when attempting to collect. They are also not permitted to use abusive language to the debtor, or contact a third party about the debt.
Creditors may, however, send written demands for timely payment, along with an invoice that precisely lays out exactly what the debtor owes. If the debt is substantial, it might be worth it to hire a Bellingham, Washington collection agency, which usually gets paid through a percentage of the debt collected. You should make sure, however, that the agency is trustworthy, and hasn't been cited for violations of consumer protection laws.
What if Someone Is Trying to Collect Money Against Me in Bellingham, Washington?
If you truly owe the money that is being sought, and can afford to pay it, you should do so. If the collection caller is behaving in a polite manner, you should try to do the same. In any case, the worst thing you can do is ignore the issue hoping that it will go away. It won't.
Fortunately, you have some options in Bellingham, Washington. First of all, you should attempt to contact the creditor directly, and see if something can be worked out. If this doesn't work, you can demand that the collection agency stop contacting you by phone. When this happens, they are not permitted to contact you further. This, of course, doesn't make the debt go away, but if the calls are becoming unbearable, it might buy you a little bit of time. Usually, when this happens, the creditor gives up on extra-judicial collections, and files a lawsuit against the debtor.
If you have hired a Bellingham, Washington lawyer to help, he or she may advise that you file for bankruptcy. If you do apply for bankruptcy, creditors are immediately required to suspend all collection activities. Of course, bankruptcy is a major decision, and should not be made without the advice of an attorney.
How Can a Bellingham, Washington Collections Attorney Help?
If you believe that a creditor is violating the law in its effort to collect from you, you should get in touch with a Bellingham, Washington attorney, since you might truly have a claim for damages against the creditor.
Also, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, a seasoned Washington attorney can help guide you through the process.