Each year, thousands of New Yorkers are unfairly targeted by debt collectors. Often, individuals are not even aware that they have missed a bill payment until they receive threats and harassing phone calls. Since many debts are frequently bought and sold through shoddy transactions, many consumers do not even owe the amount that collectors are attempting to take. Using harassment and unfair tactics to collect a debt is illegal in New York. No matter how much money you owe, you have rights against unscrupulous and law-breaking debt collectors calling you day and night. Here, a seasoned NYC debt collection harassment lawyer from the Rahman Legal team will walk you through some of the main types of debt collection in New York and provide you with an overview of laws that protect consumers.
We Protect You Against Harassment And Unfair Debt Collection
We believe that anyone facing unfair debt collection practices deserves strong and competent legal representation in their corner. Our firm is dedicated to helping individuals throughout New York City, and if you’re being unfairly targeted or harassed, you can feel confident in choosing a New York consumer lawyer from our legal team to represent you.
What Are the Main Types of Debt in New York State?
The average American has about $90,000 in debt. Every day, hospitals, credit card companies, utility companies, banks, car dealerships, and other companies sell this debt to third-party collectors at a fraction of the original amount. Debt collectors then chase consumers for the full amount and reap significant profits in the process. Debt buyers typically employ hundreds of collection agents worldwide, and they often use any unscrupulous debt collection strategies they can come up with. Let’s take a look at the most common types of debt New Yorkers carry.
Even a minor illness or injury can leave consumers with thousands in medical debt. Medical bills are full of unexplained and sometimes invalid charges, and often there is no feasible way for consumers to pay them. Also, if the hospital or clinic has an incorrect address on file, the consumer may never see a bill—that is, until a debt collector comes calling. Medical debt collection also involves privacy issues, as it creates a potential for sensitive medical records to be released without consent. In New York, medical debt is a challenge for many individuals; and dealing with such debt costs time, effort, and further expense. Call Rahman Legal if you are facing medical debt collection.
Credit Card Bills
New York is an expensive place to live, and many people here have credit card debt. Missing just a few payments on a credit card can lead to an onslaught of harassing collections calls and letters. Furthermore, credit card companies frequently sell consumer debt to third-party collectors, leaving consumers confused as to who is trying to collect on past-due bills. Credit card bills that are passed to debt collectors may also contain mistakes and improper charges. All this often causes consumers to be reluctant or unwilling to pay a large, unfamiliar bill, possibly assuming it is a fraud.
If credit card companies or their collection agents are chasing you, a debt collection harassment lawyer can help you find a way forward. Rahman Legal has helped many New Yorkers manage credit card collections. Let us help you too.
Cell Phone Bills
Cell phone companies, like credit card companies and hospitals, frequently sell unpaid debt to bill collectors. Debt collectors quickly turn around and hound debtors, threatening to sue and even filing frivolous lawsuits. Sometimes these lawsuits even concern bills that were settled or paid months or years earlier. Rahman Legal has significant expertise in this area. Call us to find out more about how we can help.
Understanding Your Rights
You, as a consumer, have rights against debt collectors. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, also known as the FDCPA, is a powerful consumer statute passed by Congress in 1977. The law prevents debt collectors from using harassment and deceptive tactics to collect a debt. The law not only protects consumers against violations by professional collection agencies, but it also applies to law firms, landlords, co-op management companies, foreclosure agents, repossession companies, and many other types of businesses. If you are receiving notices or telephone calls from anyone who claims that you owe a debt, back rent, a fee, or a bill, the FDCPA provides protections that you are entitled to.
In addition to the FDCPA, New Yorkers are also afforded protections under New York General Business Law Section 349, which prohibits deceptive acts and practices by companies. New Yorkers who receive public benefits and stimulus payments are also protected from certain types of collection.
Has a Debt Collector Violated Your Rights?
Debt Collection Abuse
Debt collection abuse is a widespread and pervasive problem. In fact, consumers make hundreds of thousands of complaints against debt collection companies each year. Despite robust laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that are intended to prevent debt collection harassment, companies often go to great lengths to collect both large and small amounts of money. In some cases, even the cost of lawsuits can outweigh the amount of the debt and yet debt collectors persist.
Here are some examples of conduct that may be illegal under the FDCPA:
- Early morning or late night phone calls to a residence
- Frequent and repeated phone calls during the same day
- Collection calls to family or employers
- Landlord back-rent notices that do not contain proper disclosures
- Improper threats of wage garnishment or lawsuits
- False statements about a debt
- Unlawful foreclosure notices or threats to foreclose on a home
- Vehicle repositions without proper notice
If you are experiencing any of the above, or if you believe you are a victim of debt collection abuse, speak with a debt collection lawyer as soon as possible. These companies cannot speak directly with you if you are represented by a lawyer. The sooner you have a lawyer, the closer you are to stopping the harassment.
Credit Reporting Abuse
Unfair credit reporting can haunt you long past the resolution of outstanding debt. In fact, it can jeopardize your ability to obtain a mortgage or car loan or it may even prevent you from being approved to rent an apartment. Debt collectors may often try to use credit reporting against you when attempting to collect an amount. However, their actions must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Contact an experienced debt collection lawyer if you think your credit has been negatively impacted by unfair debt collection practices.
Frequently Asked Questions About Debt Collection
Why Is A Debt Collector Calling Me When I Don’t Owe Anything?
Sometimes, the debt collector may not have been notified that you paid the debt. Other times, the debt collector may be calling you because a family member has not paid a debt. Yet there are also some collectors, especially fake or fraudulent companies, that may be trying to scam you into giving up money that you do not owe.
Even in these situations, where you do not owe anything, you are still protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If the debt collection harassment persists even after you tell them to stop, contact us for a consultation.
Can A Debt Collector Contact My Employer?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes it illegal for a third-party collection agency to discuss your debt with your employer. Such agencies are also not allowed to contact your employer to find out where you live if they already know where you live. Yet despite the protections afforded by the FDCPA and other laws, some collectors do break the law and contact employers to increase the pressure on you.
If a debt collector has contacted your employer for any reason, they may have already violated the law. Speak with a knowledgeable debt collection harassment lawyer from Rahman Legal to find out how we can help.
Contact a Debt Collection Harassment Lawyer Today
With over a decade of legal experience, Hashim Rahman, the owner of Rahman Legal, has the deep consumer protection experience you need when fighting off debt collection harassment. Rahman Legal has challenged debt collectors in negotiations and in court, and we are here to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation. Let us help with your debt collection and consumer protection needs.