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Debt collectors may use email in some instances in Washington

For things like working with a debt collector in Washington, using email is often far more convenient than talking on the phone. For one thing, it allows you to communicate back and forth whenever you want, rather than having to step away from work or dinner to answer the phone.

The problem is that the rules and regulations that debt collectors must use are quite outdated, having been drafted in 1978, when no one was using email. For this reason, collectors may feel that it is too big of a risk to contact you via email, and they will continue to call.

There are a few things you can do to make email use more common. First of all, you need to reach out to the collector and tell him or her that you'd like to use email. Doing this on the phone—your call is probably being recorded—then protects the collector because it's proof that you asked for the change in communication. It can also help to email the collector first, rather than waiting to be contacted.

Once communication starts, be up front about who you are, giving plenty of identifying information. Debt collectors have to know that they had contacted the right people, so being as clear as possible makes the progress go more smoothly and makes email a viable option.

Finally, you're better off to use your personal email, and not a work address. This email will be more closely linked to you, specifically, which is what debt collectors prefer.

When working through debt collection, it's important to understand exactly how the laws govern communication, especially since those laws have been on the books for so long.

Source: Credit.com, "Can I Deal With a Debt Collector Over Email?" Nick Jarman, Mar. 17, 2015

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