Debt Collection Seattle | Cedar Financial

Stress Less in Seattle

Increase revenue with local Seattle debt collection experts

While the Emerald City is beautiful, high housing costs can strain your debtors’ budget, making it more difficult to get paid. With strict state regulations in place, it’s important to hire the right agency to recover your funds.

Cedar Financial recovers more in Seattle with:

  • Over 30 years of Seattle debt recovery success
  • Fast dispute resolution tailored to your industry
  • Experienced creditor’s rights attorneys in Seattle

Whether your debtor is in King’s County or elsewhere, our “People-First” approach gets better results, in less time, while preserving your reputation.

See why Fortune 500 companies trust us with their accounts in Seattle.

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Top Challenges in Seattle Debt Collection

High Housing Costs May Strain Seattle Debtors

According to an Urban Institute 2019 report, nearly one in four Seattle residents has a delinquent debt.

While residents have lower amounts of medical, student and auto loan debt, Seattle has one of the highest levels of mortgage debt due to a hot housing market and high cost of living.

Seattle residents may find it difficult to save for emergencies or long-term investments, and homebuyers borrow a large amount, which makes them vulnerable to housing market fluctuations. Even so, residents have high credit health, which means better payment outcomes with the right collection strategy.

Cedar Financial’s fair, but firm approach helps you get paid faster, while giving consumers a more positive payment experience.

If your Seattle customers are struggling to pay their debts, you can trust our professional team to guide them to financial security with debt counseling, payment plans and affordable hardship solutions. With multichannel communications, online payment options and SMS payment reminders, we make it easy for your debtors to get back on track with their bills.

Request a quote today to see People-First difference.

Compliance to Washington Collection Agencies Law

Collecting debts in the United States can be tricky for creditors unfamiliar with strict federal and state collection laws.  Before hiring a Seattle collection agency, it’s important to check that they have the required licensing and compliance management systems in place.

In addition to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collection agencies in Seattle must adhere to the Washington Collection Agency Act (Chapter 19.16 RCW: Collection Agencies) when collecting debts from Seattle residents.

Enacted January 1, 1972 and enforced by the Washington State Collection Agency Board and Department of Licensing (DOL), the Washington State Collection Agency Act is intended to protect consumers and stop abusive debt collection practices.

In addition to prohibiting certain types of activities, the law requires that debt collectors in Seattle, Washington and elsewhere, to be licensed and bonded, with licenses renewed yearly.

To protect your reputation, it’s important to hire only a licensed Washington debt collection agency to recover your funds in Seattle. Cedar Financial is licensed to collect in all 50 U.S. states, including Washington state.

Contact us today to learn more.

Additional Seattle Medical Debt Collection Laws

For hospitals, doctors and other medical practices who have patients in Seattle, compliance is even more important. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) safeguards patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI) on a federal level, Seattle has added guidelines for transparency during the medical debt collection process.

Governor Jay Inslee recently signed H.B. 1531 in 2019, amending the Washington Collection Agency Act. Medical debt collection agencies in Seattle must have a system in place to ensure compliance and avoid the following updated prohibited practices:

  1. Failure to include with the first written notice to the debtor a statement that informs the debtor of his or her right to request the original account number, the date of the last payment, and an itemized statement;
  2. Failure to provide, upon request of the debtor for more information, an itemized statement, and failure to cease collection efforts unless and until it is provided, with some exceptions;
  3. Reporting adverse information to consumer credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus until at least 180 days after the original obligation was received by the licensee for collection or by assignment; and, if the claim involves hospital debt, failure to include certain information regarding charity care or collection during the pendency of an application for charity care about which the licensee has received notice.

Cedar Financial’s compliance department is constantly reviewing the latest local laws and regulations to ensure we meet the highest industry standards for our clients. We back up this promise by maintaining accredited memberships with top industry groups, including ACA International, TCM Group and the Commercial Law League of America.

Whether you need to recover Medical, Education, Retail, Government, Consumer or Commercial debts, you can trust us to preserve your good name.

Request a quote and start collecting today.

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Litigation in Seattle

While every effort is made to resolve accounts amicably, sometimes a firmer approach is needed. Here’s what you need to know about legal process in Seattle.

Filing a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Seattle

To begin a debt collection lawsuit in Seattle, the creditor or debt collector files a Complaint with the King’s County Clerk of Court, then serves the defendant with the Complaint and Summons at least 10 days before the first hearing.

In 2019, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed H.B. 1066, requiring debt collection complaints to be filed prior to service of summons and complaint.

H.B. 1066 “prohibits a collection agency from serving a debtor with a summons and complaint in a debt collection lawsuit unless the court documents are filed with the court first and the assigned case number appears on the service documents.”

Once served, the defendant has 30 days to file an answer before they are in default. After 45 days with no response, the plaintiff may request a default judgment.

Obtaining a judgment doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be able to collect.

If your debtor won’t pay, Cedar Financial offers access to vetted local debt collection law firms in Seattle to pursue your claim in court. We manage your claim from start to finish, including skip tracing, asset location, filing a lawsuit, obtaining a judgment and enforcement, ensuring the best outcome for your case.

Request a quote or visit our debt collection attorneys page to learn more.

Enforcing Seattle Judgments

If a judgment is awarded in a Seattle lawsuit, then the judgment creditor has the legal right to remedy through a number of enforcement tools, according to Title 4 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), including:

  • Wage garnishment – In Washington, the judgment creditor can have the employer deduct up to 25% of the judgment debtor’s wages (RCW 6.27.150).
  • Account levy – Takes money from the debtor’s bank account and applies it to the judgment balance. In Washington, consumers must receive notice of a pending garnishment and can claim an exemption of up to $500 (RCW 6.15.010).
  • Lien on real property – Places a claim on property that requires the debtor to pay the judgment if they sell or refinance (RCW 4.56.190).

Cedar Financial doesn’t stop at obtaining a judgment in Seattle court – our legal debt collection team will follow through with your judgments for the best chance of payment post-litigation.

If your debtor won’t pay, we conduct searches and periodically review the debtor’s assets, credit, and overall ability to pay until your judgment is satisfied. We also keep track of renewals so your judgments won’t expire.

Contact us to learn more about our low-cost legal collection options.

High Post-Judgment Interest Rate

Aggressive legal debt collection practices can have a negative impact on collectors, consumers and creditors alike. In addition to pushing struggling consumers further into financial hardship, negative PR can have a lasting negative impact on your business that is difficult to recover from.

Washington state has one of the highest flat post-judgment interest rates in the country at 12%. This means that if claims go to court, the Seattle judgment debtor could end up paying quite a bit in fees and interest. If wages are garnished, the judgment creditor can renew the garnishment every 60 days to add on additional costs.

According to a 2019 story in The Seattle Times, local Seattle debt collection agencies have taken advantage of this high rate in the past to increase their profits, often pushing for court judgments and setting legal case quotas, instead of working with people on payment plans to resolve their debts.

While legal action is sometimes necessary to recover your funds, it should be as a last resort after all amicable collections attempts have failed.

At Cedar Financial, we believe Putting People First is the best path to success and will never recommend litigation on a claim unless all other avenues have been exhausted.

By treating consumers with the respect they deserve and working with them on solutions that work for all parties, we not only collect more, but preserve your valuable reputation and customer relationships in the process.

Recover more with top debt collection attorneys in Seattle.

Quick Facts About Debt Collection in Seattle

Open Invoices

Unpaid Invoice Interest Rate 12% max
Can Collection Fees be added? Yes, if included in contract.
Statute of Limitations/Prescription Verbal agreement: three years.
Written agreement: six years.

Judgments

Post Judgment Interest Rate 12%
Judgment Expiration 10 years
Can judgment be renewed? Yes, for another 10 years.

Local Experts in Collections

We offer on-the-ground representatives in Seattle who understand the debt collection practices that work to support full recovery of your funds.

 

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Licensed to collect in all 50 U.S. states and over 150 countries, with local offices in:

FAQs About Debt Collection in Seattle

Why should we ask you to collect our debts in Seattle?

We are licensed and accredited to collect your debts in Seattle. With over 30 years of debt collection experience, we adhere to all local, state and federal laws, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDPCA) and Washington Collection Agency Act, using a fair, but firm approach for faster recovery of your funds.

What does it cost to hire you to recover the amount due to us?

For pre-legal services, we work on a “no collection – no fee” basis, so you will only pay when your funds are recovered. For legal services, we offer low-cost options.

What is the minimum amount or number of accounts you will accept?

We have no minimum value or volume that is required to place accounts.

What type of debt do you service?

We service consumer and commercial debts, large or small, across many industries.

How long will your amicable (non-legal) debt collection process take?

It varies. Factors such as the age of the account and the type of debt being collected must be taken into account, along with the specific circumstances of the claim. Because we know timely results are important to you, we guarantee an update on your claim within 30 days.

What is the typical debt collection process?

Once we receive your accounts and the proper documents to validate the claim, our representatives will begin by skip tracing the accounts to locate the debtor. We will then immediately start working the account via phone and mail and issue a written demand notice allowing 30 days for debt validation as required by the FDCPA.

What is the statute of limitations in Seattle, for older debts?

The statute of limitations in Seattle is three years for verbal agreements and six years for written agreements.

Do you provide field services?

If your debtor is unresponsive to letters and phone calls, we provide on-the-ground field services for investigation, skip tracing, in-person visits at your debtor’s residence, asset searches, and more.

Do I need to provide documentation?

Yes, we must be able to validate the debt before we can begin the collection process. Validation documents include, but are not limited to, contractual agreements between you and the consumer, a bill or invoices for exchanged goods or services or legal court judgment documents.

Do you offer litigation services if you exhaust all amicable collection efforts without recovery?

Yes. In the event all amicable efforts are exhausted, our in-house legal team will conduct a thorough review of the file to determine collectability in litigation. If the file qualifies and you approve, we will work with the local attorney in Seattle to file suit and pursue the claim, including asset location, arbitration, trial representation, obtainment of a judgment and post-judgment enforcement.

Are collection fees legal to be added to the balance owed?

Yes, if they are included in the contract signed by the debtor.

* The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.    

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