Beginning of Chapter  <<  19.16.100 >>   19.16.110


Unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, the following words and phrases as hereinafter used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:
(1) "Board" means the Washington state collection agency board.
(2) "Claim" means any obligation for the payment of money or thing of value arising out of any agreement or contract, express or implied.
(3) "Client" or "customer" means any person authorizing or employing a collection agency to collect a claim.
(4) "Collection agency" means and includes:
(a) Any person directly or indirectly engaged in soliciting claims for collection, or collecting or attempting to collect claims owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another person;
(b) Any person who directly or indirectly furnishes or attempts to furnish, sells, or offers to sell forms represented to be a collection system or scheme intended or calculated to be used to collect claims even though the forms direct the debtor to make payment to the creditor and even though the forms may be or are actually used by the creditor himself or herself in his or her own name;
(c) Any person who in attempting to collect or in collecting his or her own claim uses a fictitious name or any name other than his or her own which would indicate to the debtor that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such claim;
(d) A debt buyer as defined in this section;
(e) Any person or entity attempting to enforce a lien under chapter 60.44 RCW, other than the person or entity originally entitled to the lien.
(5) "Collection agency" does not mean and does not include:
(a) Any individual engaged in soliciting claims for collection, or collecting or attempting to collect claims on behalf of a licensee under this chapter, if said individual is an employee of the licensee;
(b) Any individual collecting or attempting to collect claims for not more than one employer, if all the collection efforts are carried on in the name of the employer and if the individual is an employee of the employer;
(c) Any person whose collection activities are carried on in his, her, or its true name and are confined and are directly related to the operation of a business other than that of a collection agency, such as but not limited to: Trust companies; savings and loan associations; building and loan associations; abstract companies doing an escrow business; real estate brokers; property management companies collecting assessments, charges, or fines on behalf of condominium unit owners associations, associations of apartment owners, or homeowners' associations; public officers acting in their official capacities; persons acting under court order; lawyers; insurance companies; credit unions; loan or finance companies; mortgage banks; and banks;
(d) Any person who on behalf of another person prepares or mails monthly or periodic statements of accounts due if all payments are made to that other person and no other collection efforts are made by the person preparing the statements of account;
(e) An "out-of-state collection agency" as defined in this chapter; or
(f) Any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of the person is not the collection of debts.
(6) "Commercial claim" means any obligation for payment of money or thing of value arising out of any agreement or contract, express or implied, where the transaction which is the subject of the agreement or contract is not primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.
(7) "Debt buyer" means any person or entity that is engaged in the business of purchasing delinquent or charged off claims for collection purposes, whether it collects the claims itself or hires a third party for collection or an attorney for litigation in order to collect such claims.
(8) "Debtor" means any person owing or alleged to owe a claim.
(9) "Director" means the director of licensing.
(10) "Licensee" means any person licensed under this chapter.
(11) "Medical debt" means any obligation for the payment of money arising out of any agreement or contract, express or implied, for the provision of health care services as defined in RCW 48.44.010. In the context of "medical debt," "charity care" has the same meaning as provided in RCW 70.170.020.
(12) "Out-of-state collection agency" means a person whose activities within this state are limited to collecting debts from debtors located in this state by means of interstate communications, including telephone, mail, or facsimile transmission, from the person's location in another state on behalf of clients located outside of this state, but does not include any person who is excluded from the definition of the term "debt collector" under the federal fair debt collection practices act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692a(6)).
(13) "Person" includes individual, firm, partnership, trust, joint venture, association, or corporation.
(14) "Statement of account" means a report setting forth only amounts billed, invoices, credits allowed, or aged balance due.


Application2020 c 30: "This act applies prospectively only and not retroactively. It applies with respect to delinquent or charged off claims purchased for collection purposes by a debt buyer on or after June 11, 2020." [ 2020 c 30 § 5.]
Effective date2013 c 148 §§ 1 and 3: "Sections 1 and 3 of this act take effect October 1, 2013." [ 2013 c 148 § 4.]
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