New York City has put in place some of the toughest debt collection laws in the country. With the unfortunate downturn in the economy and the rising inability to pay outstanding debts, it’s time for New York City residents to understand their rights when it comes to debt and debt collection practices.
Make Debt Repayment Arrangements
It is not always possible for individuals to pay their outstanding debt. If that is the case, it is best to contact the institution that holds the financial obligation. The mere fact of making contact in an attempt to work out a repayment arrangement can stave off debt collection calls.
Harassment is Prohibited
New York City law prohibits bill collectors from calling households before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Additionally, individuals who receive calls from debt collectors more than two times in any single week can report the organization or agency to the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Hardball tactics such as intimidation, threats of violence, and inappropriate language are considered a violation of the New York City debt collection law. Individuals who receive such treatment from a bill collection agency must report the offending company.
Debt Collection Right to Privacy
Debt collection agencies may only contact an employer for the purposes of locating the person who owes the outstanding debt. They’re not allowed to divulge anything more about the individual’s financial situation. Additionally, privacy laws prohibit them from sharing information with friends, family and/or acquaintances.
Stop the Debt Collection Calls by Putting it in Writing
Individuals who do not wish to be contacted by telephone must put it in writing. They must send a letter to the debt collection agency advising that they no longer wish to receive phone calls. The debt collection agency must, under New York law, abide by the request. They may, however, contact the outstanding debt holder by letter informing them of their intent to sue.
Collection Agencies Must Respect Client Attorney Relationship
If the collection process has gone to the point where it is necessary for an individual to hire an attorney, the debt collection agency must respect the decision and carry out all further contact through the attorney and not the individual.
For more information regarding the New York City debt collection law, visit the New York City Department of Consumer affairs. Additionally, the city has put out a brochure called the Debt Collectors Guide, which provides printed information regarding a person’s rights and the laws governing New York City debt collection practices.