During this legislative session, the Washington Collectors Association prioritized advocating for regulations related to credit repair. In addition, exemptions for collection agencies were included in the robocall law.
On July 23, 2023, two bills will go into effect in Washington state. One bill will regulate telephone communications, and another will regulate credit repair companies.
The Robocall Spam Protection Act
The state of Washington is introducing a new law called House Bill 1051 that will further regulate robocalls and telephone solicitations. The aim of the law is to prevent any abusive telephone communications that may mislead or harm the residents of the state.
The bill aimed to prohibit the generation of robocalls through telephone networks and hold accountable those who aid or facilitate robocalls.
The Washington Collectors Association (WCA) worked closely with Democrat State Representative Mari Leavitt, who sponsored the bill during the state legislative session, to ensure that the accounts receivable management sector would not be impacted by any unintended consequences.
On April 20, the bill was signed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee after Leavitt agreed to collaborate with both industry and consumer advocates to modify it.
According to a House Bill report (PDF), individuals who are licensed under RCW 19.16.110 in the state, regulating collection agencies, are exempted from the law regarding calls made by collection agencies.
Credit Repair Service Regulations
Starting July 23, another important bill that supports WCA advocates will be implemented. The bill regulates credit repair companies and enhances transparency for consumers by supplementing prohibited acts to the Credit Services Organization Act. Additionally, it includes some other measures as well.
- A credit services organization may not need to communicate with a consumer reporting agency, collection agency, or creditor in specific situations.
- Credit services organizations must remove certain personal consumer information when sending written communication.
- Credit service organizations must obtain written permission from the consumer before using their signature for credit repair services.
- Credit service organizations must give consumers notice about their right to file complaints with the Attorney General and their rights.
In addition, credit service organizations must not falsely represent the services they provide. They also cannot advise consumers to make false statements about their financial condition or misrepresent their creditworthiness. Credit service organizations must not charge any fees for services until written agreements are fully executed, and all consumer disclosures have been provided. Finally, credit service organizations must disclose any affiliations with other companies that may influence their advice.
The Credit Repair Organizations Act provides important consumer protections to those who use the services of a credit repair organization. It is important to understand your rights under this act to ensure you are receiving quality services from a reputable credit repair organization.