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Washington AG Wants to End Pocket Service of Suits For Unpaid Debts

The Attorney General of Washington plans to push forward with a plan to enact new laws that would change how debt collectors serve individuals who are being sued for unpaid debts.

Bills have been proposed in both houses of the state legislature that would require collectors file a lawsuit with the courts before serving an individual with a summons and a complaint. Washington courts have allowed what is known as “pocket service” where a lawsuit commences when a plaintiff serves a defendant with a summons of the complaint and not when the suit is filed with the court.

The proposed laws are aimed at protecting consumers from default judgments, which can be entered against defendants who do not show up for their court dates.

“Many unrepresented defendants reasonably conclude that the unnumbered summons and complaint are not valid, particularly when they call the court and are told that no case has been filed. They then intentionally fail to answer and unwittingly give up their only opportunity to contest the debt,” according to a copy of the proposed legislation, one of AG Bob Ferguson’s 11 initiatives for 2019.

The proposed legislation would require collectors to only serve an individual with a summons and complaint when “the summons and complaint have been filed with the court and bear the case number assigned by the court.”

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2 comments

  1. Bob Ferguson is so out of touch with reality and his proposal spotlights his deficient thinking. He is now suggesting that we back up the courts with totally unnecessary clerk work which is a waste of time and money. This is typical government logic that wants to fix what is not broken and ignore areas that are!

  2. I hope the AG Ferguson is able to pass this legislation ASAP. This practice is so brazenly devious and deceituful it should have been illegal long time ago. You can only criticize the efforts to ban it if you are a debt collector or otherside profiting from it. Often times people don’t owe the debt they are sued for. Everyone should at least get a chance to appear at court and defend themselves. With pocket service you are denied that chance. Ban the pocket service.

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