ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5494
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senate Committee on Financial Institutions & Insurance (originally sponsored by Senators von Reichbauer, Pelz, Johnson, Owen, Thorsness, Vognild, Sellar and Moore).
Read first time March 6, 1991.
AN ACT Relating to collection of debts; amending RCW 12.40.105, 62A.3‑515, and 62A.3-520; and adding a new chapter to Title 19 RCW.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. (1) "Financial institution" means a bank, trust company, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, savings bank, loan company, or credit union authorized to do business and accept deposits in this state under state or federal law.
(2) "Account information" means:
(a) The date the account was opened, the amount of the opening deposit to the account and, if closed, the closing date of the account and the reason for closure;
(b) The last known address and phone number, if any, of the drawer according to the account records of the financial institution;
(c) A copy of the statement of account as described in section 2 of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. (1) In order to assist a law enforcement agency in the assessment or preparation of an action against the drawer of a dishonored check as defined in RCW 62A.3-104 and 62A.3-507, a financial institution may provide a holder of a dishonored check drawn on an account with the financial institution a copy of the statement of account for thirty days preceding and including the dates the dishonored item was drawn and presented for payment through thirty days after the last date of presentment. No financial institution may release any information pursuant to this authorization unless a letter of agency referred to in this section is provided such institution in advance of the release. This information may be provided to the holder of a dishonored check only after the statutory notice of dishonor has been given pursuant to RCW 62A.3-520, fifteen days has elapsed, and the check remains unpaid.
The financial institution shall not be liable for the release of this information nor for its use by the law enforcement agency if the holder of the dishonored check has provided the financial institution with (a) a letter of agency from the law enforcement agency on whose behalf they are acting, which states that the information is not being procured for debt collection purposes, but will be provided directly to the law enforcement agency for its sole use and with (b) a copy of the affidavit of service required by RCW 62A.3-522. No agent of a law enforcement agency may release or disclose the information except to its principal, nor retain a copy in whole or in part of the information received from the financial institution.
(2) Financial institutions providing account information pursuant to this section may request reimbursement from law enforcement agencies for reasonable costs associated with providing this information.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. Records obtained pursuant to section 2 of this act shall be deemed records kept in the ordinary and regular course of business of the financial institution from which they were requested when the records are submitted to a court of law with a notarized statement signed by the records custodian of the financial institution stating the records were provided pursuant to section 2 of this act.
Sec. 4. RCW 12.40.105 and 1983 c 254 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
losing party fails to pay the judgment within twenty days or within the period
otherwise ordered by the court, the judgment shall be increased by: (1) An
amount sufficient to cover costs of certification of the judgment under RCW
12.40.110; (2) collection costs incurred pursuant to section 2(2) of this
act; and ((
(2))) (3) the amount specified in RCW
36.18.020(3), without regard to the jurisdictional limits on the small claims
Sec. 5. RCW 62A.3‑515 and 1986 c 128 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
Whenever a check as defined in RCW 62A.3-104 has been dishonored by
nonacceptance or nonpayment the payee or holder of the check is entitled to
collect a reasonable handling fee for each such instrument. When such check
has not been paid within fifteen days and after the holder of such check sends
such notice of dishonor as provided by RCW 62A.3-520 to the drawer at his or
her last known address, then if the instrument does not provide for the
payment of interest, or collection costs and attorneys fees, the drawer of such
instrument shall also be liable for payment of interest at the rate of twelve
percent per annum from the date of dishonor and cost of collection not to
exceed forty dollars or the face amount of the check, whichever is the lesser,
and reasonable administrative costs under section 2(2) of this act. In
addition, in the event of court action on the check the court, after such
notice and the expiration of said fifteen days, shall award a reasonable
attorneys fee, and three times the face amount of the check or ((
hundred dollars, whichever is less, as part of the damages payable to the
holder of the check. This section shall not apply to any instrument which has
been dishonored by reason of any justifiable stop payment order.
(2)(a) Subsequent to the commencement of the action but prior to the hearing, the defendant may tender to the plaintiff as satisfaction of the claim, an amount of money equal to the sum of the amount of the check, a reasonable handling fee, accrued interest, collection costs equal to the face amount of the check not to exceed forty dollars, and the incurred court and service costs, and reasonable administrative costs under section 2(2) of this act.
(b) Nothing in this section precludes the right to commence action in any court under chapter 12.40 RCW for small claims.
Sec. 6. RCW 62A.3-520 and 1986 c 128 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
The notice of dishonor shall be sent by mail to the drawer at his or her last known address, and said notice shall be substantially in the following form:
NOTICE OF DISHONOR OF CHECK
A check drawn by you and made payable by you to .......... in the amount of .......... has not been accepted for payment by .........., which is the drawee bank designated on your check. This check is dated .........., and it is numbered, No. ......
You are CAUTIONED that unless you pay the amount of this check within fifteen days after the date this letter is postmarked, you may very well have to pay the following additional amounts:
(1) Costs of collecting the amount of the check, including an attorney's fee which will be set by the court and reasonable administrative costs of collecting the amount of the check;
(2) Interest on the amount of the check which shall accrue at the rate of twelve percent per annum from the date of dishonor; and
Five hundred dollars or three times the face amount of the check,
whichever is less, by award of the court.
You are also CAUTIONED that law enforcement agencies may request and be provided with copies of your statement of the bank account on which the check was drawn for the time period of thirty days preceding and including the dates the check was both drawn and presented for payment through thirty days after the last date of presentment if you do not pay the amount of this check within fifteen days after the date this letter is postmarked.
You are advised to make your payment to .......... at the following address: .....................