Unlawful Debt Collection                                   

I stumbled into my first Unlawful Debt Collection Practices case in 1997 when one of my clients received a debt collection call at work through his employer’s cell phone.  The debt collector threatened to garnish his wages “by the end of the day” even though there was no judgment and he didn’t owe the debt.  When I called the debt collector to have him “back off” he made threats to me as well.  The collector subsequently mailed my client written threats that it would take his property, causing him and his family great distress. 

This motivated me to spend the necessary time to learn everything I could about The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,15 USC §§ 1692 et seq, and Oregon’s Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act, ORS 646.639 et seq.  The U.S. District Court eventually granted my client’s motion for summary judgment and held that the debt collector’s representations both to my client and to me violated The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Oregon’s Unlawful Debt Collections Practices Act.  Van Westrienen v. Americontinental Collection, 94 F Supp 2d 1087 (2000). The case subsequently settled for more than $30,000.00.  Since then I have filed many successful unlawful debt collection practices claims on behalf of consumers.  I practice commercial debt collection and I have no qualms about debt collection when it is done properly.  Good debt collectors can effectively do their jobs without violating consumer protection statutes.  Debt collectors that unlawfully harass or abuse debtors should be held legally accountable for their conduct.