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AGO 1949 No. 143 - October 13, 1949
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

COLLECTION AGENCIES FILING BONDS IN COUNTIES

In the case of the ordinary collection agency which complies with § 5847-5, Rem. Rev. Stat., such collection agency may transact business in any county in the state without filing an additional bond.

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                                                                October 13, 1949

Honorable Joe L. Johnson
Prosecuting Attorney
Cowlitz County
Kelso, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 143

Attention:  Stewart Elliot, Deputy

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of October 3, 1949, in which you ask the following question:

            Does chapter 90, Laws of 1929 [Rem. Rev. Stat. 5847-4 to 5847-8], require the ordinary collection agency to post a bond in each county where such collection agency solicits business or collects bills, or is one bond, as required by § 5847-5, sufficient?

            The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

            Only one bond is required.  [Overruling opinion to Prosecuting Attorney, Spokane County, dated August 26, 1930 (Ops. Atty. Gen. 1929-30, p. 799).]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            § 2, chapter 90, Laws of 1929 [Rem. Rev. Stat. 5847-5], provides for the posting of a bond in the sum of $3,000.00 by a "collection agency, collection bureau" or "collection office," and then provides:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "* * * The bond shall be approved by the county clerk of the county in which the principal place of business of the collection agency is located and shall then be filed in the office of the county auditor of the said county or cash may be accepted by the county auditor in lieu of such bond."

            The above language would seem to imply that a single bond filed in the county in which a collection agency has its principal place of business is sufficient to cover operations of such agency in other counties.

            In an opinion to the Prosecuting Attorney of Spokane County dated August 26, 1930 (Ops. Atty. Gen. 1929-30, p. 799), we held that in view of § 4 of chapter 90, Laws of 1929 [Rem. Rev. Stat. 5847-7], that § 4 made provision for a certain class of agency and that the clear implication from such excepting provision was that all classes of collection agency other than those expressly mentioned in § 4 were required to file a statutory bond in each county in which business was transacted.  Our office has further held in an informal letter dated May 2, 1933, and signed by the Attorney General personally, that where the ordinary collection agency complied with § 5847-5 that such compliance authorized wuch collection agency to do business throughout the entire state without the filing of any additional bond.  We further held in an informal letter dated November 6, 1933, to the same effect.

            We now feel inclined to hold that the opinion to the Prosecuting Attorney of Spokane County of August 26, 1930, should be overruled in its entirety.  We believe that in the case of the ordinary collection agency which complies with § 5847-5 that such collection agency may transact business in any county in the state without filing an additional bond.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

GEORGE DOWNER
Assistant Attorney General

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