Not all debts are covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Consumer debts are the only debts that fall within the ambit of the Act. Though a collector may violate Washington or Oregon state collections laws by engaging in collections activity that would normally violate the FDCPA, if the debt itself is commercial rather than consumer, there is no violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The original purpose of the debt determines whether the debt is consumer or comercial. This is not an all or nothing approach. If the business purpose was a small part of an otherwise personal loan, the FDCPA likely applies. Moreover, personal checks made out to retain businesses create a rebuttable presumption that the debt was made for consumer purposes. It has been found that where personal debts incurred with a business credit card, the actual use of the card ultimately won out over the business label on the card.

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