47th District Senator Monda Das (D-Kent) recently shared some of the legislature’s accomplishments, and how they will benefit Washingtonians. One of the areas the 2019 legislative session addressed was unfair debt collection practices. Here’s what Sen. Das had to say:
For years, our state’s rules on debt collection have been unfairly weighted to benefit debt collectors and disadvantage debtors. Our laws have exacerbated the cycle of debt through unfair fees and unscrupulous — yet legal — practices in the debt collection industry. We hope that these new laws will turn the tide, and give all Washingtonians a chance to prosper.
- HB 1531 helps prevent consumers from entering a debt spiral due stemming from medical bills. The bill lowers the interest rate that often begins accruing even before a patient sees a bill, prohibits health care providers from selling medical debt to collections agencies for at least 120 days after the first billing notice, and requires that patients are informed of opportunities to apply for charity care.
- HB 1602 helps ensure working families are not left destitute or homeless by wage garnishment. Reduces the interest rate on consumer debt and lets people retain more of their wages so they can pay for necessities, like rent.
- HB 1730 makes clear that the 10-year statute of limitations on debt cannot be unexpectedly revived through unscrupulous debt collection practices. Known as zombie debt, such practices restart the clock on the statute of limitations for collection, often locking people in an endless cycle of debt.
- HB 1066 increases fairness and transparency for consumers by ending the practice of “pocket service” by debt collectors, which can make a debt-related summons difficult or impossible to verify. But the consequences of ignoring a valid summons can be extremely damaging.
Did you know: In 2017, there were more than 8,500 debt collection companies in the United States? According to the National Consumer Law Center, those companies generated about $11 billion in revenue.
The above is aggregated content from Sen. Mona Das. The Auburn Examiner has not independently verified its contents and encourages our readers to verify any information they find may be overly biased or questionable.