A new law will allow the Oregon Department of Justice to crack down on debt collectors who illegally harass Oregonians.
Legislation to reign in debt collectors has failed repeatedly in the past, including the last two legislative sessions. The new Attorney General came into office in January vowing to make the bill a top priority. To his credit, he held dozens of one-on-one meetings with legislators in order to combat the debt collection lobby’s campaign of misinformation that had been so successful in the past.The new law allows the Department of Justice to sue debt collectors who call in the middle of the night, curse and threaten consumers in violation of the law. The law brings debt collectors under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. This measure was a long time coming: Since 2001, the number of complaints about debt collectors has repeatedly placed the industry on Department of Justices’ Top 10 Consumer Complaint List. In 2008, the Department of Justice received 834 written consumer complaints about debt collection agencies. Many Oregon families are already struggling with these challenging economic times and need to know that the state is on their side. This legislation provides that reassurance by giving our Attorney General the authority to go after unscrupulous debt collectors who cross the line.”