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Does a out of state debt lawyer have to have a collection agency in Washington State when collecting a debt out of state?

Seattle, WA |

I received a 30 day demand letter from a debt lawyer out of state, Someone bought the debt and gave it the attorneys for collection. Since they are acting like a collection agency as well as an attorney, do they have to have a collection office here run by a WA. resident?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The Washington Collection Agency Act requires collection agencies who operate in Washington to be licensed in Washington, but it does not to my knowledge require a presence in Washington. There is at least one large collection law firm in Oregon that does this.

This answer is in the nature of a general legal analysis and is not tailored to the facts of your specific situation. It should not be construed as legal advice, and you should meet with an attorney before taking action on this matter.

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Asker

Posted

I found the information on wa. licensing department. but said collection agencys so, i wondering , if the law firm needs to do the same. thank you for your answer.

Matthew Scott Berkus

Matthew Scott Berkus

Posted

If the statute says collection agency, and it is a law firm collection...that sort of answers the question. However, since an out of state law firm trying to collect a debt is nothing more than a glorified collection agency, the issue is arguable. All you can do is report the issue to your state attorney general office. However, that is not going to solve your immediate problem. You owe a debt and someone is trying to collect. What are you going to do to solve that problem (e.g. pay it, settle it, or file bankruptcy).

Asker

Posted

answer would be pay it but.... the issue is this firm has been sending notices to my old add .lied to me bout the reason why. said county has it listed as my add. county paper i recieved from court house says the add. has been out of my name for 2 yrs. the junk debt buyer , according to the website states they buy debts then turn them over to collections. i do not know what happened to the orig. finance co. When the last payment i made was returned and my calls weren't being answered i drove to the office and they had moved. i have done business with the org. co. for 6 yrs. never been late with a payment, just seems like a dirty thing to do to somebody. Now this firm wants an extra 3,000. my credit score dropped from 900 to 456! if this firm is not allowed to collect and the junk debt buyer has to wait a little while longer than 30 days think i may feel better.

Posted

There might be some other issues here with the lawyer reaching across state lines to collect a debt. I'd be happy to look at the letter ad give you some free advise afterwards. Further, I know a great lawyer in Washington if I think the letter is actionable. Seems dangerous for me for a law firm to be collecting in debts in states they are not licensed to practice.

I am an attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio and some Federal Courts throughout the United States. I am not answering your question to solicit you as a client and there is a good chance that I am not licensed to practice law in the state that you reside. I hope that you find my assistance beneficial and, at most, use my advise as a finger pointing in the right direction. An attorney client relationship is not established by posting back and forth online. One of the most beneficial aspects of working with an attorney is the attorney client privilege which does not exist when you post personal facts online to faceless strangers. Hire an attorney if you want specific legal advise. If you cannot afford one, call your local bar association or search "(your city) legal aid" online. The fact that you took the time to post your question online likely means that you could use the aid of an attorney. Call around your area and see if any local attorneys offer free consultations.

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Posted

I think Mt. Hyslip is correct. If the collector has no ability or intention of filing suit against you then you may have an FDCPA claim against them. If the collector is not licensed to practice law in your state, that might be the case. You should speak to a competent consumer lawyer in your area. If Mr. Hyslip has a name, I would call that lawyer. It typically costs nothing to see if you have a claim.

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