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02.12.16 by Andrew Shafer


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Two bills have been introduced during the 2016 session of the Washington State legislature which, if enacted, will make several important changes. In summary, they are as follows:

S 4388 makes a change to Washington’s validation notice requirement. RCW 19.16.250(8)(e) is amended by adding new sections iii and iv, which state,

 (iii) Certification that the itemization of the claim was made based on a personal review of account level documentation provided by the original creditor; and

(iv) A copy of the account level documentation reviewed by the licensee pursuant to (e)(iii) of this subsection (8).

RCW 19.16.100 is amended to add a new Paragraph 1 as follows:

 “Account level documentation” means all records generated by the original creditor or received by the original creditor from the debtor related to a claim in collection including, but not limited to: The original contract and terms and conditions of the account, periodic statements of accounts due, and records of payments, letters, and other account notices. 

 S 4247 adds a new paragraph 26 to RCW 19.16.250.  This proposal prohibits collection agencies from serving a complaint without first filing it in Superior Court. The proposed amendment reads as follows:

             No licensee or employee of a licensee shall:

 (26) Serve the debtor with a summons and complaint unless the pleadings have been filed with the court and the summons and complaint contain a file number and sufficient information to allow the debtor to file an answer with the court.

This amendment changes CR 3(a) which states that an action (i.e, a lawsuit) is commenced by filing or service of the summons and complaint. In actions in superior court, (the Civil Rules only govern actions in superior court) it is not uncommon to save the filing fee by serving first then filing if the case cannot be resolved “off the record.”  Now, any collection action brought in superior court by a collection agency must be filed before it is served. This amendment does not affect actions in district court because the rule CRLJ 3 states an action is commenced by filing the summons and complaint.