Times Watchdog

Times Watchdog is a series of investigative reports promoting good government, bringing questionable practices to light and holding authorities and the powerful accountable to the public.

Debt collectors that ‘sue, sue, sue’ can squeeze Washington state consumers for more cash

Collections industry lobbyist Kelsi Hamilton, center, speaks at a legislative committee meeting in Olympia regarding a debt collection bill. Bobbi Miller, a target of debt collectors, left, and Antonio Ginatta, policy director for Columbia legal services right, listen during a meeting which brought lobbyists from the industry and consumers into the same room to discuss the measure. 

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Washington state has among the most punishing laws in the country for people in debt, allowing collection companies to take advantage of high interest rates and of courts that have made it easy to sue and garnish wages.

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