On August 2, 2017, the Governor of Oregon signed into law House Bill 2356 which establishes: (1) licensing requirements for debt buyers; and (2) requirements under which a debt buyer or debt collector acting on behalf of a debt buyer may bring legal action to collect debt. The law goes into effect October 6, 2017.
First, the law will define a “debt buyer” as a “person that regularly engages in the business of purchasing charged-off debt for the purpose of collecting the charged-off debt or hiring another person to collect or bring legal action to collect the charged-off debt.” Debt buyer will not include “a person that acquires charged off debt as an incidental part of acquiring a portfolio of debt that is predominantly not charged-off debt.”
Effective October 6, debt buyers will need to obtain a license. A person will not need to obtain a license if the person is: (1) a financial institution as defined in Oregon’s banking laws; (2) a mortgage banker or a mortgage broker as defined in Oregon’s mortgage lending statutes; (3) a person that has a license the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services issued for credit unions, lending institutions, and pawnbrokers; (4) an authorized trust company; (5) a debt management service provider; (6) an Oregon licensed attorney, if the attorney engages in debt buying only incidentally in the practice of law; and (7) a person that the Director exempts after determining that the public interest does not require the person to obtain a license.
The new law will require debt buyers that bring legal action to collect or a debt collector that brings legal action on the debt buyer’s behalf to include in an initial pleading: (1) the original creditor’s name; (2) a way to contact the new debt buyer; (3) the last four digits of the original creditor’s account; (4) the date and amount of the last payment; (5) an itemized list of charges and fees imposed; and (6) the date on which the debt buyer purchased the debt.
Under the new provisions, if a consumer asks the debt buyer or debt collector acting on behalf of a debt buyer for documents to prove that he or she owes the debt, the debt buyer or debt collector will have to stop collection until he or she can produce the documents. Also, it will be a violation of the Act to file a lawsuit knowing that the debt is past the statute of limitations.
The entire Oregon House Bill 2356 can be found here: http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2017/HB2356/.