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Debt collector/buyer licensing requirement in Oregon?

Hood River, OR |

I understand that a deb t buyer who has purchase a debt can sue in their name without a license in Oregon because they are collecting on their own behalf.Ive been served buy a debt buyer in their name but they only purchased collection rights according to the last bill of sale. If a Debt collector has been assigned a debt for collection purposes only with ownership staying with assignor I would think they would need an Oregon Debt Collectors license to file action . Am I reading the rules wrong?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. This is the statute that appears to control your issue:

    https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/lawsstatutes/2013ors697.html

    Its pretty clear that the debt buyer is not the actual creditor and is simply in the business of collecting debts for another person or entity.

    I am also wondering if this constitutes the unlicensed or unauthorized practice or law. I could be wrong but unless the debt buyer is a lawyer, he or she cannot sue to collect for a third person without employing a lawyer.

    In other words if OldCo assigns rights to collect to NewCo and NewCo sues in its own name, but it does not use a lawyer, then NewCo is practicing law without a license.

    This is a public forum. Any questions or answers published here should not be construed as the giving or receiving of legal advice or the formation of any attorney-client relationship. You should consult with a competent attorney in the jurisdiction where your legal issues are pending and get good, solid legal advice. This being a public forum, those answers you do read are merely given for informational purposes only.


  2. The debt collection company should be a registered corporation, LLC or assumed business name. You can look these up on the corporation division's website here: http://egov.sos.state.or.us/br/pkg_web_name_srch_inq.login

    As to whether these companies are practicing law without a licence, I doubt it. Some of them do hire debt collection specialist lawyers. Other file in Small Claims court which does not allow lawyers, so by definition individuals and companies must sue by themselves.

    The answer given here is for educational purposes only so those who need a lawyer can have a more successful initial meeting with a lawyer of their choice. The statements are not legal advice and the intention of this writing is that no attorney-client relationship is formed by those reading these answers. Also be sure to get a second opinion to the answers given here if you choose to do so.


  3. Your question is not easy to answer in this forum because there are caveats and exceptions to every rule. For instance, a person who rarely collects debts may not be subject to the same licensing requirements of a firm that engages in collection every day. The identity of the collector and its type of business is important, but details of the debt and how collection has proceeded are also important.

    It is highly unlikely that the suit could be considered the unlawful practice of law.

    Stepping back from the specifics of your question, unless the debt collector has engaged in spectacularly illegal behavior, the only defense that you will ultimately succeed on are that you don't owe the debt for some reason. Defenses about licensing and collection practices generally only delay the inevitable unless the collector commits many violations. These defenses can also help you negotiate a lower settlement, but debtors don't win altogether on them too often.

    If you have already been served with a summons, you should also be aware that very important deadlines are fast approaching. Even if you plan to represent yourself, consulting with an attorney about all the details of the debt and collection process would probably pay off in making sure you have the best chance of success in this matter.

    This answer, any comments, and other contributions on this website are intended solely as general legal information and are not intended as legal advice. This attorney is licensed to practice law in Oregon and Federal Courts, and makes no representation regarding the law of other jurisdictions. No attorney-client relationship is created by any post to this site and no warranty is made regarding any information provided. Legal advice will only be given upon the establishment in writing of a formal attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney if you want to have this advice.

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