If you purchase something using a store credit card or receive services that you don’t pay for, then it’s likely that the Washington company that you did business with will call you or send you invoices in the mail to try to get you to pay up. If you don’t bring your account current, then your creditor will likely turn your account over to a collection agency to try to collect what you owe. These are both examples of self-help remedies that creditors pursue.
As you may suspect, self-help remedies are most any debt collection practices that don’t involve the courts. Creditors generally file a lawsuit to collect on debts that they’re owed after they’ve unsuccessfully tried to collect what they’re due.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that outlines guidelines that debt collection companies must follow when attempting to collect what their debtors owe them. These businesses are limited to calling within certain time windows and in who they speak with about any outstanding debts. They’re also prohibited from using deceptive practices to get you to pay. This law exists to prevent debtors from being abused.
Creditors may be able to recover any property of yours that you used to secure a loan or some other item. They even may be able to sell that item and use the funds to satisfy your debt.
A creditor can pursue court-based remedies such as a lawsuit when self-help debt remedies have failed. This means that creditors can place liens on your property. They can also request an attachment, or garnishment and replevin, also known as a seizure.
Creditors may also initiate involuntary bankruptcy proceedings on your behalf if you have substantial debts and none of the aforementioned self-help or court remedies have resulted in you taking any action to pay.
There are both federal and state regulations that apply to debt collectors when they’re attempting to collect balances that you owe. An attorney can advise you of what they are and aren’t allowed to do here in King County. Your Washington lawyer can also advise you of how different debt relief options may help you do away with having to always look over your shoulder for your next creditor.