Oregon Debt Collection Laws

C.Thomas Davis Paul. C. Galm

Submitted by C. Thomas Davis & Paul C. Galm of Davis Galm Law Firm


Published by The National List of Attorneys



The Law Firm of Davis Galm is a general litigation firm in Oregon handling cases throughout the state. The firm is very active, and the below discussion of Oregon law is peppered with comments gleaned from experience. Assisted by an excellent support staff, the firm furnishes its clients with quality legal representation at a reasonable cost. With its varied background and experience, the firm is able to provide broad legal expertise to its clients, including collections, business and real estate transactions, estate planning, dispute resolutions, personal injury and wrongful death actions, and criminal defense.

C. Thomas Davis: After graduating from Oregon State University, Tom attended the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College and received his J.D. in 1981. His practice includes local, state and national clients, where he appears in all courts throughout the State of Oregon. He emphasizes estate planning, business and real estate. Tom’s professional involvement includes serving as President of the Washington County Bar Association, Pro-Tem Circuit and Municipal Judge, court-appointed Arbitrator, and Hearing Officer for the State of Oregon.

Paul Galm: After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in both History and German, Paul attended New York University School of Law and received his J.D. in 2000. He worked as a litigator at Perkins Coie LLP, a large multi-national law firm, for four years before joining the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, where he worked as a deputy district attorney for over two years. As a trial attorney, Paul’s practice includes representation of a wide variety of businesses and individuals in court.



A plaintiff outside of Oregon can use Oregon courts to collect a debt owing to it, so long as the debtor lives here or circumstances underlying the debt transpired in Oregon. An agency or outside law firm does not need to be registered as a collection agency or admitted to the bar in Oregon to file to collect a debt. ORS 697.005. Debts up to $10,000 can be sought in small claims court. Attorneys cannot appear in small claims court per ORS 46.41.5(4) without the consent of the Judge. Corporations must appear by an attorney per ORS 9.320. Many small claims judges overlook the discrepancy and allow non-attorneys, but permission should be obtained. The other court of general jurisdiction is the circuit court, which can handle any dollar amount.


Concepts of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) are contained in ORS Chapter 646 and pertain to Unlawful Trade Practices. Most of the litigation concerns whether the plaintiff is attempting to collect a debt that is not owing or a prohibited collection activity. Very few cases have been decided, because most consumers bring claims in the U.S. District Court of Oregon, as the federal law may provide more detailed, greater benefits to consumers.


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