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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:43 pm 
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RCW 19.16.230
Licensee — Business office — Records to be kept.

(1) Every licensee required to keep and maintain records pursuant to this section, other than an out-of-state collection agency, shall establish and maintain a regular active business office in the state of Washington for the purpose of conducting his or its collection agency business. Said office must be open to the public during reasonable stated business hours, and must be managed by a resident of the state of Washington.

(2) Every licensee shall keep a record of all sums collected by him or it and all disbursements made by him or it. All such records shall be kept at the business office referred to in subsection (1) of this section, unless the licensee is an out-of-state collection agency, in which case the record shall be kept at the business office listed on the licensee's license.

(3) Licensees shall maintain and preserve accounting records of collections and payments to customers for a period of four years from the date of the last entry thereon.


[1994 c 195 § 6; 1987 c 85 § 1; 1973 1st ex.s. c 20 § 3; 1971 ex.s. c 253 § 14.]


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RCW 19.16.240
Licensee — Trust fund account — Exception.

Each licensee, other than an out-of-state collection agency, shall at all times maintain a separate bank account in this state in which all moneys collected by the licensee shall be deposited except that negotiable instruments received may be forwarded directly to a customer. Moneys received must be deposited within ten days after posting to the book of accounts. In no event shall moneys received be disposed of in any manner other than to deposit such moneys in said account or as provided in this section.

The bank account shall bear some title sufficient to distinguish it from the licensee's personal or general checking account, such as "Customer's Trust Fund Account". There shall be sufficient funds in said trust account at all times to pay all moneys due or owing to all customers and no disbursements shall be made from such account except to customers or to remit moneys collected from debtors on assigned claims and due licensee's attorney or to refund over payments except that a licensee may periodically withdraw therefrom such moneys as may accrue to licensee.

Any money in such trust account belonging to a licensee may be withdrawn for the purpose of transferring the same into the possession of licensee or into a personal or general account of licensee.


[1994 c 195 § 7; 1971 ex.s. c 253 § 15.]


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RCW 19.16.245
Financial statement.

No licensee shall receive any money from any debtor as a result of the collection of any claim until he or it shall have submitted a financial statement showing the assets and liabilities of the licensee truly reflecting that the licensee's net worth is not less than the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars, in cash or its equivalent, of which not less than five thousand dollars shall be deposited in a bank, available for the use of the licensee's business. Any money so collected shall be subject to the provisions of RCW 19.16.430(2). The financial statement shall be sworn to by the licensee, if the licensee is an individual, or by a partner, officer, or manager in its behalf if the licensee is a partnership, corporation, or unincorporated association. The information contained in the financial statement shall be confidential and not a public record, but is admissible in evidence at any hearing held, or in any action instituted in a court of competent jurisdiction, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter: PROVIDED, That this section shall not apply to those persons holding a valid license issued pursuant to this chapter on July 16, 1973.


[1973 1st ex.s. c 20 § 9.]


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RCW 19.16.250
Prohibited practices.

No licensee or employee of a licensee shall:

(1) Directly or indirectly aid or abet any unlicensed person to engage in business as a collection agency in this state or receive compensation from such unlicensed person: PROVIDED, That nothing in this chapter shall prevent a licensee from accepting, as forwardee, claims for collection from a collection agency or attorney whose place of business is outside the state.

(2) Collect or attempt to collect a claim by the use of any means contrary to the postal laws and regulations of the United States postal department.

(3) Publish or post or cause to be published or posted, any list of debtors commonly known as "bad debt lists" or threaten to do so. For purposes of this chapter, a "bad debt list" means any list of natural persons alleged to fail to honor their lawful debts. However, nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit a licensee from communicating to its customers or clients by means of a coded list, the existence of a check dishonored because of insufficient funds, not sufficient funds or closed account by the financial institution servicing the debtor's checking account: PROVIDED, That the debtor's identity is not readily apparent: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the licensee complies with the requirements of subsection (9)(e) of this section.

(4) Have in his possession or make use of any badge, use a uniform of any law enforcement agency or any simulation thereof, or make any statements which might be construed as indicating an official connection with any federal, state, county, or city law enforcement agency, or any other governmental agency, while engaged in collection agency business.

(5) Perform any act or acts, either directly or indirectly, constituting the practice of law.

(6) Advertise for sale or threaten to advertise for sale any claim as a means of endeavoring to enforce payment thereof or agreeing to do so for the purpose of soliciting claims, except where the licensee has acquired claims as an assignee for the benefit of creditors or where the licensee is acting under court order.

(7) Use any name while engaged in the making of a demand for any claim other than the name set forth on his or its current license issued hereunder.

(8) Give or send to any debtor or cause to be given or sent to any debtor, any notice, letter, message, or form which represents or implies that a claim exists unless it shall indicate in clear and legible type:

(a) The name of the licensee and the city, street, and number at which he is licensed to do business;

(b) The name of the original creditor to whom the debtor owed the claim if such name is known to the licensee or employee: PROVIDED, That upon written request of the debtor, the licensee shall make a reasonable effort to obtain the name of such person and provide this name to the debtor;

(c) If the notice, letter, message, or form is the first notice to the debtor or if the licensee is attempting to collect a different amount than indicated in his or its first notice to the debtor, an itemization of the claim asserted must be made including:

(i) Amount owing on the original obligation at the time it was received by the licensee for collection or by assignment;

(ii) Interest or service charge, collection costs, or late payment charges, if any, added to the original obligation by the original creditor, customer or assignor before it was received by the licensee for collection, if such information is known by the licensee or employee: PROVIDED, That upon written request of the debtor, the licensee shall make a reasonable effort to obtain information on such items and provide this information to the debtor;

(iii) Interest or service charge, if any, added by the licensee or customer or assignor after the obligation was received by the licensee for collection;

(iv) Collection costs, if any, that the licensee is attempting to collect;

(v) Attorneys' fees, if any, that the licensee is attempting to collect on his or its behalf or on the behalf of a customer or assignor;

(vi) Any other charge or fee that the licensee is attempting to collect on his or its own behalf or on the behalf of a customer or assignor.

(9) Communicate or threaten to communicate, the existence of a claim to a person other than one who might be reasonably expected to be liable on the claim in any manner other than through proper legal action, process, or proceedings except under the following conditions:

(a) A licensee or employee of a licensee may inform a credit reporting bureau of the existence of a claim: PROVIDED, That if the licensee or employee of a licensee reports a claim to a credit reporting bureau, the licensee shall upon receipt of written notice from the debtor that any part of the claim is disputed, forward a copy of such written notice to the credit reporting bureau;

(b) A licensee or employee in collecting or attempting to collect a claim may communicate the existence of a claim to a debtor's employer if the claim has been reduced to a judgment;

(c) A licensee or employee in collecting or attempting to collect a claim that has not been reduced to judgment, may communicate the existence of a claim to a debtor's employer if:

(i) The licensee or employee has notified or attempted to notify the debtor in writing at his last known address or place of employment concerning the claim and the debtor after a reasonable time has failed to pay the claim or has failed to agree to make payments on the claim in a manner acceptable to the licensee, and

(ii) The debtor has not in writing to the licensee disputed any part of the claim: PROVIDED, That the licensee or employee may only communicate the existence of a claim which has not been reduced to judgment to the debtor's employer once unless the debtor's employer has agreed to additional communications.

(d) A licensee may for the purpose of locating the debtor or locating assets of the debtor communicate the existence of a claim to any person who might reasonably be expected to have knowledge of the whereabouts of a debtor or the location of assets of the debtor if the claim is reduced to judgment, or if not reduced to judgment, when:

(i) The licensee or employee has notified or attempted to notify the debtor in writing at his last known address or last known place of employment concerning the claim and the debtor after a reasonable time has failed to pay the claim or has failed to agree to make payments on the claim in a manner acceptable to the licensee, and

(ii) The debtor has not in writing disputed any part of the claim.

(e) A licensee may communicate the existence of a claim to its customers or clients if the claim is reduced to judgment, or if not reduced to judgment, when:

(i) The licensee has notified or attempted to notify the debtor in writing at his last known address or last known place of employment concerning the claim and the debtor after a reasonable time has failed to pay the claim or has failed to agree to make payments on the claim in a manner acceptable to the licensee, and

(ii) The debtor has not in writing disputed any part of the claim.

(10) Threaten the debtor with impairment of his credit rating if a claim is not paid.

(11) Communicate with the debtor after notification in writing from an attorney representing such debtor that all further communications relative to a claim should be addressed to the attorney: PROVIDED, That if a licensee requests in writing information from an attorney regarding such claim and the attorney does not respond within a reasonable time, the licensee may communicate directly with the debtor until he or it again receives notification in writing that an attorney is representing the debtor.

(12) Communicate with a debtor or anyone else in such a manner as to harass, intimidate, threaten, or embarrass a debtor, including but not limited to communication at an unreasonable hour, with unreasonable frequency, by threats of force or violence, by threats of criminal prosecution, and by use of offensive language. A communication shall be presumed to have been made for the purposes of harassment if:

(a) It is made with a debtor or spouse in any form, manner, or place, more than three times in a single week;

(b) It is made with a debtor at his or her place of employment more than one time in a single week;

(c) It is made with the debtor or spouse at his or her place of residence between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

(13) Communicate with the debtor through use of forms or instruments that simulate the form or appearance of judicial process, the form or appearance of government documents, or the simulation of a form or appearance of a telegraphic or emergency message.

(14) Communicate with the debtor and represent or imply that the existing obligation of the debtor may be or has been increased by the addition of attorney fees, investigation fees, service fees, or any other fees or charges when in fact such fees or charges may not legally be added to the existing obligation of such debtor.

(15) Threaten to take any action against the debtor which the licensee cannot legally take at the time the threat is made.

(16) Send any telegram or make any telephone calls to a debtor or concerning a debt or for the purpose of demanding payment of a claim or seeking information about a debtor, for which the charges are payable by the addressee or by the person to whom the call is made.

(17) In any manner convey the impression that the licensee is vouched for, bonded to or by, or is an instrumentality of the state of Washington or any agency or department thereof.

(18) Collect or attempt to collect in addition to the principal amount of a claim any sum other than allowable interest, collection costs or handling fees expressly authorized by statute, and, in the case of suit, attorney's fees and taxable court costs. A licensee may collect or attempt to collect collection costs and fees, including contingent collection fees, as authorized by a written agreement or contract, between the licensee's client and the debtor, in the collection of a commercial claim. The amount charged to the debtor for collection services shall not exceed thirty-five percent of the commercial claim.

(19) Procure from a debtor or collect or attempt to collect on any written note, contract, stipulation, promise or acknowledgment under which a debtor may be required to pay any sum other than principal, allowable interest, except as noted in subsection (18) of this section, and, in the case of suit, attorney's fees and taxable court costs.

(20) Upon notification by a debtor that the debtor disputes all debts arising from a series of dishonored checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instruments, initiate oral contact with a debtor more than one time in an attempt to collect from the debtor debts arising from the identified series of dishonored checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instruments when: (a) Within the previous one hundred eighty days, in response to the licensee's attempt to collect the initial debt assigned to the licensee and arising from the identified series of dishonored checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instruments, the debtor in writing notified the licensee that the debtor's checkbook or other series of preprinted written instruments was stolen or fraudulently created; (b) the licensee has received from the debtor a certified copy of a police report referencing the theft or fraudulent creation of the checkbook, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or series of preprinted written instruments; (c) in the written notification to the licensee or in the police report, the debtor identified the financial institution where the account was maintained, the account number, the magnetic ink character recognition number, the full bank routing and transit number, and the check numbers of the stolen checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instruments, which check numbers included the number of the check that is the subject of the licensee's collection efforts; (d) the debtor provides, or within the previous one hundred eighty days provided, to the licensee a legible copy of a government-issued photo identification, which contains the debtor's signature and which was issued prior to the date of the theft or fraud identified in the police report; and (e) the debtor advised the licensee that the subject debt is disputed because the identified check, automated clearinghouse transaction on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instrument underlying the debt is a stolen or fraudulently created check or instrument.

The licensee is not in violation of this subsection if the licensee initiates oral contact with the debtor more than one time in an attempt to collect debts arising from the identified series of dishonored checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instruments when: (i) The licensee acted in good faith and relied on their established practices and procedures for batching, recording, or packeting debtor accounts, and the licensee inadvertently initiates oral contact with the debtor in an attempt to collect debts in the identified series subsequent to the initial debt assigned to the licensee; (ii) the licensee is following up on collection of a debt assigned to the licensee, and the debtor has previously requested more information from the licensee regarding the subject debt; (iii) the debtor has notified the licensee that the debtor disputes only some, but not all the debts arising from the identified series of dishonored checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or other preprinted written instruments, in which case the licensee shall be allowed to initiate oral contact with the debtor one time for each debt arising from the series of identified checks, automated clearinghouse transactions on a demand deposit account, or written instruments and initiate additional oral contact for those debts that the debtor acknowledges do not arise from stolen or fraudulently created checks or written instruments; (iv) the oral contact is in the context of a judicial, administrative, arbitration, mediation, or similar proceeding; or (v) the oral contact is made for the purpose of investigating, confirming, or authenticating the information received from the debtor, to provide additional information to the debtor, or to request additional information from the debtor needed by the licensee to accurately record the debtor's information in the licensee's records.


[2001 c 217 § 5; 2001 c 47 § 2; (2001 c 217 § 4 expired April 1, 2004); 1983 c 107 § 1; 1981 c 254 § 5; 1971 ex.s. c 253 § 16.]


Notes:
Reviser's note: This section was amended by 2001 c 47 § 2 and by 2001 c 217 § 5, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).

Effective date -- 2001 c 217 § 5: "Section 5 of this act takes effect April 1, 2004." [2001 c 217 § 16.]


Expiration date -- 2001 c 217 § 4: "Section 4 of this act expires April 1, 2004." [2001 c 217 § 15.]


Captions not law -- 2001 c 217: See note following RCW 9.35.005.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:45 pm 
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RCW 19.16.260
Licensing prerequisite to suit.

No collection agency or out-of-state collection agency may bring or maintain an action in any court of this state involving the collection of a claim of any third party without alleging and proving that he or it is duly licensed under this chapter and has satisfied the bonding requirements hereof, if applicable: PROVIDED, That in any case where judgment is to be entered by default, it shall not be necessary for the collection agency or out-of-state collection agency to prove such matters.

A copy of the current collection agency license or out-of-state collection agency license, certified by the director to be a true and correct copy of the original, shall be prima facie evidence of the licensing and bonding of such collection agency or out-of-state collection agency as required by this chapter.


[1994 c 195 § 8; 1971 ex.s. c 253 § 17.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:46 pm 
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RCW 19.16.270
Presumption of validity of assignment.

In any action brought by licensee to collect the claim of his or its customer, the assignment of the claim to licensee by his or its customer shall be conclusively presumed valid, if the assignment is filed in court with the complaint, unless objection is made thereto by the debtor in a written answer or in writing five days or more prior to trial.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 18.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:51 pm 
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RCW 19.16.290
Board — Initial members — Terms — Oath — Removal.

The initial members of the board shall be named by the governor within thirty days after January 1, 1972. At the first meeting of the board, the members appointed by the governor shall determine by lot the period of time from January 1, 1972 that each of them shall serve, one for one year; one for two years; one for three years; and one for four years. In the event of a vacancy on the board, the governor shall appoint a successor for the unexpired term.

Each member appointed by the governor shall qualify by taking the usual oath of a state officer, which shall be filed with the secretary of state, and each member shall hold office for the term of his appointment and until his successor is appointed and qualified.

Any member of the board other than the director or his designee may be removed by the governor for neglect of duty, misconduct, malfeasance or misfeasance in office, after being given a written statement of the charges against him and sufficient opportunity to be heard thereon.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 20.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:52 pm 
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RCW 19.16.300
Board meetings — Quorum — Effect of vacancy.

The board shall meet as soon as practicable after the governor has appointed the initial members of the board. The board shall meet at least once a year and at such other times as may be necessary for the transaction of its business.

The time and place of the initial meeting of the board and the annual meetings shall be at a time and place fixed by the director. Other meetings of the board shall be held upon written request of the director at a time and place designated by him, or upon the written request of any two members of the board at a time and place designated by them.

A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum.

A vacancy in the board membership shall not impair the right of the remaining members of the board to exercise any power or to perform any duty of the board, so long as the power is exercised or the duty performed by a quorum of the board.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 21.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:54 pm 
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RCW 19.16.310
Board — Compensation — Reimbursement of travel expenses.

Each member of the board appointed by the governor shall be compensated in accordance with RCW 43.03.240 and in addition thereto shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred while on official business of the board and in attending meetings thereof, in accordance with the provisions of RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.


[1984 c 287 § 54; 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 34 § 58; 1971 ex.s. c 253 § 22.]


Notes:
Legislative findings -- Severability -- Effective date -- 1984 c 287: See notes following RCW 43.03.220.

Effective date -- Severability -- 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 34: See notes following RCW 2.08.115.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:55 pm 
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RCW 19.16.320
Board — Territorial scope of operations.

The board may meet, function and exercise its powers and perform its duties at any place within the state.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 23.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:55 pm 
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RCW 19.16.330
Board — Immunity from suit.

Members of the board shall be immune from suit in any civil action based upon an official act performed in good faith as members of such board.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 24.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:56 pm 
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RCW 19.16.340
Board — Records.

All records of the board shall be kept in the office of the director. Copies of all records and papers of the board, certified to be true copies by the director, shall be received in evidence in all cases with like effect as the originals. All actions by the board which require publication, or any writing shall be over the signature of the director or his designee.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 25.]


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:57 pm 
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RCW 19.16.351
Additional powers and duties of board.

The board, in addition to any other powers and duties granted under this chapter and RCW 18.235.030:

(1) May adopt, amend, and rescind rules for its own organization and procedure and other rules as it may deem necessary in order to perform its duties under this chapter.

(2) May inquire into the needs of the collection agency business, the needs of the director, and the matter of the policy of the director in administering this chapter, and make such recommendations with respect thereto as, after consideration, may be deemed important and necessary for the welfare of the state, the welfare of the public, and the welfare and progress of the collection agency business.

(3) Upon request of the director, confer and advise in matters relating to the administering of this chapter.

(4) May consider and make appropriate recommendations to the director in all matters referred to the board.

(5) Upon request of the director, confer with and advise the director in the preparation of any rules to be adopted, amended, or repealed.

(6) May assist the director in the collection of such information and data as the director may deem necessary to the proper administration of this chapter.


[2002 c 86 § 267; 1977 ex.s. c 194 § 2; 1973 1st ex.s. c 20 § 8.]


Notes:
Effective dates -- 2002 c 86: See note following RCW 18.08.340.

Part headings not law -- Severability -- 2002 c 86: See RCW 18.235.902 and 18.235.903.


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RCW 19.16.390
Personal service of process outside state.

Personal service of any process in an action under this chapter may be made upon any person outside the state if such person has engaged in conduct in violation of this chapter which has had the impact in this state which this chapter reprehends. Such persons shall be deemed to have thereby submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state within the meaning of RCW 4.28.180 and 4.28.185. A holder of an out-of-state collection agency license is deemed to have appointed the director or the director's designee to be the licensee's true and lawful agent upon whom may be served any legal process against that licensee arising or growing out of any violation of this chapter.


[1994 c 195 § 9; 1971 ex.s. c 253 § 30.]


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RCW 19.16.410
Rules, orders, decisions, etc.

The director may promulgate rules, make specific decisions, orders and rulings, including therein demands and findings, and take other necessary action for the implementation and enforcement of his duties under this chapter.


[1971 ex.s. c 253 § 32.]


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