Attorney Joshua Turnham Testifies in Opposition to Senate Bill 5043

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Attorney Joshua Turnham speaks out against SB 5043, which would allow debt collectors to charge people an additional fee for using debit or credit cards.

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Attorney Joshua L. Turnham

Collection agencies prefer payment by debit or credit card. They say that consumers demand the convenience of being able to pay with a card, but the collection agencies accept payment by debit or credit card because they are more likely to get paid.

Attorney Joshua Turnham, founder of The Law Office of Joshua L. Turnham, PLLC, recently testified in the Washington State Senate in opposition to Senate Bill 5043, a bill that, if passed, would enable debt collectors to charge people an extra fee for using debit or credit cards. “Collection agencies prefer payment by debit or credit card. They say that consumers demand the convenience of being able to pay with a card, but the collection agencies accept payment by debit or credit card because they are more likely to get paid,” said Turnham, who focuses on consumer protection and consumer law. “If they didn’t accept those types of payments, they wouldn’t collect half as much as they do.”

In addition to Turnham, eight other people testified in opposition to the bill, and also delivered a letter to all of the legislators on the committee that was signed by twenty-seven attorneys and consumer advocates. In his testimony, Turnham referenced the 2015 Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study Update, commissioned by the Washington Supreme Court, which found that the most prevalent legal problem facing low-income Washington residents is healthcare-related, primarily healthcare debt. The second biggest legal problem is consumer/finance issues.

A study by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that Washington state has the most regressive tax system in the nation, where poor families pay 16.8 percent of their income in state and local taxes while the wealthiest pay only 2.4 percent. “So, this is a big problem in our state, and this bill would only make things harder for low-income Washingtonians,” concluded Turnham. “It would punish those who really can’t afford it. Washington law already permits debt collectors to charge 12 percent interest.”

To listen to Turnham’s testimony in its entirety, please visit http://www.tvw.org/watch/?clientID=9375922947&eventID=2017011218&eventID=2017011218&startStreamAt=2360&autoStartStream=true.

About Joshua L. Turnham, The Law Office of Joshua L. Turnham, PLLC
Attorney Joshua L. Turnham is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, King County Bar Association and National Association of Consumer Advocates. He also has the distinguished honor to be the first David Leen Consumer Justice Incubator Attorney to help clients with consumer law issues, such as debt and foreclosure. For more information, please call (206) 395-9267, or visit http://www.turnhamlaw.com. The law office is located at 214 East Galer Street, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98102.

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