By Evan Yi, ELAP intern
Dealing with debt can be challenging and often scary. Here are a few of the best online and local resources to help you handle debt and get back on your feet:
Washington Law Help provides a comprehensive review of the law on a variety of subjects, including information on consumer credit counseling, protected money, and how to deal with collection agencies. Their website has a helpful search tool so you can easily find your issue and also provides an online guide to debtors’ rights.
The Federal Trade Commission’s website has a wide range of consumer information related to federal law, including debt of deceased relatives, debt relief scams, and what to do about abusive debt collectors. In addition to a search function, the FTC website also provides a guide to getting free credit reports and info about what to do if a debt collector files a lawsuit against you.
The Washington Department of Financial Institutions offers information on a range of specific consumer issues for Washington state residents. You’ll also find a guide to financial resources by county and a guide to debt collectors and your rights.
The Financial Empowerment Network provides a wealth of financial resources and can help get you connected with financial welfare service providers in your region. A financial welfare resources page will direct you to dozens of specific topics. Their online directory includes financial welfare service providers, the services they offer, and their locations.
Northwest Consumer Law Center is a local resource that offers representation and education on Washington state consumer legal issues, including debt defense, foreclosure prevention, automobile fraud, consumer bankruptcy, and student loans. Additionally, the organization provides clinics and webinars that can help you better understand difficult consumer issues. Low-income households may apply online to see if they qualify for individualized legal aid.