(1) A licensee shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws when collecting a delinquent small loan. A licensee may charge a one-time fee as determined in rule by the director to any borrower in default on any loan or loans where the borrower's check has been returned unpaid by the financial institution upon which it was drawn. A licensee may take civil action under Title 62A
RCW to collect upon a check that has been dishonored. If the licensee takes civil action, a licensee may charge the borrower the cost of collection as allowed under RCW 62A.3-515
, but may not collect attorneys' fees or any other interest or damages as allowed under RCW 62A.3-515
. A licensee may not threaten criminal prosecution as a method of collecting a delinquent small loan or threaten to take any legal action against the borrower which the licensee may not legally take.
(2) Unless invited by the borrower, a licensee may not visit a borrower's residence or place of employment for the purpose of collecting a delinquent small loan. A licensee may not impersonate a law enforcement official, or make any statements which might be construed as indicating an official connection with any federal, state, county, or city law enforcement agency, or any other governmental agency, while engaged in collecting a small loan.
(3) A licensee may not communicate with a borrower in such a manner as to harass, intimidate, abuse, or embarrass a borrower, including but not limited to communication at an unreasonable hour, with unreasonable frequency, by threats of force or violence, or by use of offensive language. A communication shall be presumed to have been made for the purposes of harassment if it is initiated by the licensee for the purposes of collection and:
(a) It is made with a borrower or spouse in any form, manner, or place, more than three times in a single week;
(b) It is made with a borrower at his or her place of employment more than one time in a single week or made to a borrower after the licensee has been informed that the borrower's employer prohibits such communications;
(c) It is made with the borrower or spouse at his or her place of residence between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.; or
(d) It is made to a party other than the borrower, the borrower's attorney, the licensee's attorney, or a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law except for purposes of acquiring location or contact information about the borrower.
(4) A licensee is required to maintain a communication log of all telephone and written communications with a borrower initiated by the licensee regarding any collection efforts including date, time, and the nature of each communication.
(5) If a dishonored check is assigned to any third party for collection, this section applies to the third party for the collection of the dishonored check.
(6) For the purposes of this section, "communication" includes any contact with a borrower, initiated by the licensee, in person, by telephone, or in writing (including emails, text messages, and other electronic writing) regarding the collection of a delinquent small loan, but does not include any of the following:
(a) Communication while a borrower is physically present in the licensee's place of business;
(b) An unanswered telephone call in which no message (other than a caller ID) is left, unless the telephone call violates subsection (3)(c) of this section; and
(c) An initial letter to the borrower that includes disclosures intended to comply with the federal fair debt collection practices act.
(7) For the purposes of this section, (a) a communication occurs at the time it is initiated by a licensee regardless of the time it is received or accessed by the borrower, and (b) a call to a number that the licensee reasonably believes is the borrower's cell phone will not constitute a communication with a borrower at the borrower's place of employment.
(8) For the purposes of this section, "week" means a series of seven consecutive days beginning on a Sunday.