28 Feb Oregon Legislature Targets Abusive Debt Collectors
A new law aimed at stopping debt collectors who violate fair debt collection standards was proposed by the Oregon attorney general and has been passed by the state senate. Oregon Senate Bill 328 will give the Oregon Department of Justice the authority to enforce existing Oregon law prohibiting illegal debt collection practices.
For many years Oregon law, specifically ORS 646.607 et seq., has prohibited the use of unconscionable tactics in the collection of consumer debts. However, the existing statute, part of the Oregon UDAP or unlawful and deceptive acts and practices laws, gives the state no enforcement authority and leaves the consumer with a private lawsuit as the only option for relief when the law is violated. The law also has a reciprocal attorney fee provision that allows the recovery attorney fees by the prevailing party, either the offended consumer or the collection agency, if they win in court.The superior financial and legal resources often possessed by commercial collection businesses makes suing a collection agency over a violation dangerous for the consumer.
Debt collectors have often been the subject of consumer complaints made to the Oregon Department of Justice. Under current law, the state has no legal tool available to intercede on a consumer’s behalf. Oregon Senate Bill 328 would allow the Oregon attorney general to sue a debt collector that goes too far and use state resources to protect Oregonians facing unlawful or abusive debt collection practices. With the current economic downturn this new law, if enacted, will will be helpful in shielding Oregon consumers from illegal and abusive tactics by overreaching collectors.
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