Oregon DCBS Guidance to Collection Agencies and Debt Buyers Regarding COVID-19

By Litigation Practice Group

On April 30, 2020, Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services (“DCBS”) published Bulletin No. DFR 2020-2014 (the “Bulletin”) to provide guidance to Oregon-regulated collection agencies and debt purchasers to actively help debtors hit by the economic effects of the novel coronavirus. The Bulletin follows guidance issued at the end of March 2020 to lenders requesting that lenders provide certain accommodations to borrowers and is part of the state’s continued response to COVID-19.

As with the prior guidance to lenders, the Bulletin is not binding. However, DCBS has encouraged collection agencies and debt buyers to accommodate consumers struggling to pay their debts for the good of the public interest. Building off of Governor Brown’s order exempting federal stimulus payments to consumers under the CARES Act from garnishment in civil cases, DCBS’s Bulletin invites these debt collectors to allow payment deferments, extend deadlines, waive late fees, and hold off on further collections efforts from those who have lost jobs or contracted COVID-19. The guidance applies to all licensed collection agencies and debt buyers in Oregon.

Effective immediately, the Bulletin is part of an ever-growing list of guidance to creditors and debt collectors requesting reasonable accommodations to help those economically affected by the pandemic. How to implement the guidelines to specific situations is left up to the licensees. At Saalfeld Griggs we continue to monitor developments affecting creditors as national, state and local governments respond to the coronavirus pandemic. We will provide additional updates as they become available.