Washington Fair Debt Consumer Guide
Learn about your legal rights when facing Debt Collector Problems. Research the applicable laws that could help protect you when a debt collector is attempting to seize your assets, garnish your wages or continue collection of a debt that is outside Washington's Statutes Of Limitations. Washington phone recording laws could assist you in gathering proof of the debt collector's illegal tactics; find out whether recording your debt collector's phone conversation is permitted in your state.
The Washington Fair Debt Collection Consumer Practices Guide summarizes Washington's laws on wage garnishment, property and asset seizures and state statutes of limitations on debt collection and could provide the ammunition you need to stop or limit creditors and collectors from harassing you, garnishing your wages or bank accounts, and from seizing your property through liens, thus limiting your overall financial exposure.
This Guide does not include information concerning the FTC's Credit Practices Rule, state consumer protection laws or information regarding exemption provisions found in laws other than the state's general exemption laws and is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney.
Washington Consumer Debt Exemption Laws
If a debt collector threatens to seize your property or your assets, you could be protected under Washington’s Consumer Debt Exemption Laws. Read the summarized information below to learn how to protect what you own and what you cannot protect from seizure. You could significantly strengthen your bargaining position with debt collectors by knowing your rights under Washington Debt Exemption Law!
Washington has not opted out of federal bankruptcy exemptions.
Wages: Washington Revised Code Annotated § 6.27.150.
Homestead: Washington Constitution article XIX, § 1; Washington Revised Code Annotated §§ 6.13.010 through 6.13.040, .070, and .080.
Tangible personal property: Washington Revised Code Annotated §§ 6.15.010
Benefits, retirement plans, insurance, judgments, and other intangibles:
Washington Revised Code Annotated §§ 6.15.010 through .040.
Washington Debt Statutes of Limitation
Your debt may have expired under Washington’s Statutes of Limitations, and may be considered uncollectible. Read the summary below to see the length of time certain types of debt can continue to be collected under the Washington Debt Statutes of Limitations, don’t let a collector threaten to take you to court over an expired debt.
Washington Debt Statutes of Limitation
Written contracts and accounts receivable: 6 years, (RCW 4.16.040).
Oral contract: 3 years (RCW 4.16.080).
Recovery of property and judgments: 10 years, (RCW 4.16.020).
Washington Wage Garnishment Procedural Requirements
Wage garnishment doesn’t mean a debt collector or creditor is entitled to take all your money. Under Washington’s Wage Garnishment Laws, there are limits and protections on just how much can be taken from your paycheck.
Read the summary below to learn your garnishment rights under Washington law.
Washington Wage Garnishment Procedural Requirements
The clerks of the superior courts and district courts may issue writs of garnishment returnable to their respective courts for the benefit of a judgment creditor who has a judgment wholly or partially unsatisfied in the court from which the garnishment is sought. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.020.
The judgment creditor as the plaintiff shall apply for a writ of garnishment by affidavit, Statuteing the following facts: (1) The plaintiff has a judgment wholly or partially unsatisfied in the court from which the writ is sought; (2) the amount alleged to be due under that judgment; (3) the plaintiff has reason to believe, and does believe that the garnishee, Statuteing the garnishee's name and residence or place of business, is indebted to the defendant in amount exceeding those exempted from garnishment by any Statutee or federal law; and (4) whether or not the garnishee is the employer of the judgment debtor. The judgment creditor shall pay to the clerk of the superior court the fee provided by _ 36.18.020 ($20 for each garnishee named in an affidavit for garnishment), or to the clerk of the district court the fee of two dollars. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.060.
A writ of garnishment directed to a bank, savings and loan association, or credit union that maintains branch offices shall identify either a particular branch of the financial institution or the financial institution as the garnishee defendant. The head office of the financial institution shall be considered a separate branch. The Statuteement may be incorporated in the writ or served separately. Service shall be by certified mail, return receipt requested, directed to or by personal service, in the same manner as a summons in a civil action is served, on the manager, cashier, or assistant cashier of the financial institution, except that, if the financial institution, and not a branch, is named as garnishee defendant, service shall be either on the head office or on the place designated by the financial institution for receipt of service of process. There shall be served with the writ, as part of the service, a Statuteement in writing signed by the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney, Statuteing (a) the defendant's place of residence and business, occupation, trade, or profession, or (b) the defendant's federal tax identification number, or (c) the defendant's account number, if such information is not incorporated in the writ. A writ naming the financial institution as the garnishee defendant shall be effective only to attach deposits of the defendant in the financial institution and compensation payable for personal services due to the defendant from the financial institution. A writ naming a branch as garnishee defendant shall be effective only to attach the deposits, accounts, credits, or other personal property of the defendant (excluding compensation payable for personal services) in the possession or control of the particular branch to which the writ is directed and on which service is made. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.080.
The writ of garnishment shall set forth in the first paragraph the amount that the garnishee is required to hold, which shall include the amount of the judgment remaining unsatisfied plus interest to the date of garnishment plus taxable costs and attorney's fees and the estimated costs of garnishment. Costs recoverable in garnishment proceedings include filing fee, service and affidavit fees, postage and costs of certified mail, answer fee or fees, and a garnishment attorney fee in the amount of the greater of fifty dollars or ten percent of the amount of the judgment remaining unsatisfied. The garnishment attorney fee shall not exceed two hundred fifty dollars. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.090.
Service of the writ of garnishment on the garnishee is invalid unless the writ is served together with four answer forms, three stamped envelopes addressed respectively to the clerk of the court issuing the writ, the attorney for the plaintiff, and the defendant, and cash or a check made payable to the garnishee in the amount of ten dollars. If a writ of garnishment is served by mail, the person making the mailing shall file an affidavit showing the time, place, and manner of mailing and that the writ was accompanied by answer forms, addressed envelopes, and cash or a check and shall attach the return receipt to the affidavit. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.110
From and after the service of a writ, it shall not be lawful for the garnishee to pay any debt owing to the defendant at the time of such service, or to deliver, sell or transfer, or recognize any sale or transfer of, any personal property or effects belonging to the defendant in the garnishee's possession or under his control at the time of such service. This restriction does not apply to any portion of a debt that is exempt from garnishment or any funds or property in excess of the amount Statuteed in the writ if the garnishee continues to hold an amount equal to the amount Statuteed in the writ. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.120.
When a writ is issued, on or before the date of service of the writ on the garnishee, the judgment creditor shall mail or cause to be mailed to the judgment debtor, by certified mail, addressed to the last known post office address of the judgment debtor a copy of the writ and a copy of the judgment or, if it is a district court judgment, a copy of the judgment creditor's affidavit, and the notice and claim form. Alternatively, the judgment creditor may serve the Statuteed documents on the judgment debtor personally. Proof of service shall be filed with the clerk of court. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.130.
Interest Rate at which Judgments Accrue Judgments founded on written contracts, providing for the payment of interest until paid at a specified rate, shall bear interest at the rate specified in the contracts provided that said interest rate is set forth in the judgment. All judgments for unpaid child support that have accrued under a superior court order or an order entered under the administrative procedure act shall bear interest at the rate of twelve percent. All other judgments shall bear interest from the date of entry at the maximum rate permitted under _ 19.52.020. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. 4.56.110.
Any rate of interest shall be legal so long as it does not exceed the higher of twelve percent per annum or four percentage point above the equivalent coupon issue yield of the average bill rate for 26 week treasury bills as determined at the first bill market auction conducted during the calendar month immediately preceding the later of the establishment of the interest rate by written agreement of the parties to the contract or any adjustment in the interest rate in the case of a written agreement permitting an adjustment. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 19.52.020. Applicable Forms Writ of Garnishment, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.100. Notice and Claim, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.140. Answer, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. _ 6.27.190. 4.0.
Washington (Debt Collector) Call Recording Law
Under Washington State and Federal Call Recording Laws, you could record the actual phone conversation with a debt collector in your efforts to stop debt collectors from scalling! Washington is a two party consent state, meaning you need the permission of all parties that are on the call to record the conversation. Thus you DO need a debt collector’s permission before you can record your phone conversation with him (or her) in the state of Washington.
Research and find additional information about Federal Call Recording Laws and learn what call recording procedures are legal in other states.