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How to Get Debt Relief in Washington

Sarah Edwards | July 21, 2022

When you get the debt relief you needed ^^

Summary: If you're struggling with debt in Washington, SoloSuit can help you find the relief you need.

Struggling with debt is no fun. Constantly paying for essentials while also trying to pay down your outstanding debt can even feel hopeless.

Individuals in Washington carry an average of nearly $10,000 in credit card debt while simultaneously balancing one of the highest costs of living indexes in the nation. In some suburbs of Seattle, home prices are up a staggering 46% since April 2021.

Rising housing costs and prices of basic goods can leave the average Washingtonian simply trying to make ends meet. While the median wage in Washington of $68,740 is much higher than the national average of $58,260, most families end up spending the extra money on goods that have increased in cost as a result of inflation.

Staggering prices can be a detriment for those seeking to obtain debt relief in Washington, but there are programs in place that can help individuals get out of debt. In addition, both the federal and state governments have put protections in place for debt-laden consumers.

Now, let's explore how you can find debt relief in Washington.

What help does the federal government offer to consumers?

The federal government created the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is meant to protect consumers from unfair collection practices that debt collectors sometimes engage in.

The Act outlines the procedures that collectors must follow when trying to collect a debt. It also spells out which collection practices are illegal. A few illegal debt collection activities include:

  • Threatening to take action against the consumer.
  • Acting like someone they aren't.
  • Contacting third parties in an attempt to make you pay the debt.
  • Not disclosing that they are a debt collector when they call you.
  • Trying to get the consumer to pay the debt through intimidation or violence.

While this is a small list of activities that were deemed illegal by the Act, there are many other practices that debt collectors may not engage in. If you feel that a debt collector is harassing you, it's best to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Washington debt collection laws can protect you

Each state has its own statutes of limitations that protect consumers from lawsuits in an attempt to collect a debt after a certain period of time has passed. In Washington, the statutes of limitations are as follows:


Washington Statute of Limitations
on Debt

Debt Type

Deadline in Years

Written

6

Oral

3

Auto loan

4

State Tax

4

Credit Cards

6

Open Accounts

6

Judgments

10


Source: Findlaw


If an old debt meets the time limits established by the statute of limitations, it becomes time-barred. This means the collector may not initiate a lawsuit in an attempt to collect the debt.

However, the collector may still use other means to contact the consumer, including sending letters or making phone calls. If the debtor admits that they owe the debt or makes a payment after a debt has become time-barred, the statute of limitations will restart.

How does debt consolidation work?

Debt consolidation is a type of debt relief program that typically requires you to work with a debt consolidation lender to obtain a loan that can be used to pay off your outstanding debts. Once all of your old creditors are paid off, you'll make one monthly payment to your new lender.

Debt consolidation is great for individuals who have the money to make regular debt payments but just can't seem to get anywhere in paying them down. This may be because they're only making minimum payments to their creditors or because of high interest rates.

Oftentimes, a debt consolidation loan comes with a lower interest rate than what other creditors offer. Since you're only making one payment, the amount going toward the principal on your loan will significantly increase.

People who want to enter a debt consolidation program are typically required to have good credit. A minimum credit score of 650 is necessary. In exchange, they can pay off their debt in a much quicker time frame, with less money paid toward interest expenses.

Should I consider debt settlement?

Debt settlement programs are usually open to everyone, regardless of credit score. Debt settlement agencies may be able to reduce your overall debt by 50% (sometimes even more). They work by negotiating a settlement offer with each of your creditors.

During the time of your program, you send the debt settlement agencies a monthly payment that they save for you in your account. This money is used to settle each debt as you go through the process.

Keep in mind that debt settlement agencies charge a fee for their services, but even after the fee, there's a great chance you will still save quite a lot of money.

That being said, if you're motivated and have the time to learn how to settle debts with your creditors, you may be able to handle the process on your own without a third-party mediator. To learn more about how to negotiate a debt settlement, check out this video:

What about bankruptcy?

The ultimate debt relief program is bankruptcy. There are two types of bankruptcy programs for individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you qualify for, you may be able to wipe out most of your debts without having to repay them at all.

But bankruptcy can cause problems for people who are seeking new credit or who want to purchase a home. Once you declare bankruptcy, it can stay on your credit report for up to ten years. Therefore, you should only consider it if you're drowning in debt and see no way out.

You can work with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to determine what type of bankruptcy you may qualify for, as well as the impact it may have on your finances.

Explore these Washington debt relief programs

Washington has financial assistance programs for its residents who are struggling with debt. Check out these Washington debt relief programs to see if you qualify:

  • Washington 2-1-1: Connects you to the local services you need, including utility assistance, food, housing, health, child care, after school programs, elder care, crisis intervention and much more.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (or EITC): Helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. If you qualify, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe – and maybe increase your refund.
  • Washington Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Provides temporary cash for families in need.
  • Housing and Essential Needs Referral: This program provides access to essential needs items and potential rental assistance for low-income individuals who are unable to work for at least 90 days due to a physical and/or mental incapacity.
  • Private Student Loan Relief: The Washington Department of Financial Institutions is offering debt relief for student loans for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These relief options include providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance, waiving late payment fees, ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting, ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days, and working with borrowers to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

Are you being sued for debt in Washington?

SoloSuit is a web-based app that helps people being sued for debt to file a response to their creditors in their local court. By answering a few questions, you generate a PDF reply that may be downloaded and printed entirely for free. For individuals who prefer an attorney's assistance, a paid solution is available.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

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