If you owe a debt, as a consumer you are afforded certain legal protections
which limit what actions a creditor can perform in order to collect money
owed. On the other hand, creditors also have rights available to them
which allow for legal recourse in cases of outstanding debt. Matters of
debt collection and consumer protections can be complex and if you are
being contacted by creditors, it is important to know what creditor actions
can be legally taken, and which actions are strictly illegal.
Creditor Actions Prohibited by Law
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) established in 1978,
you may not be harassed by creditors as a tactic for debt collection.
Although prohibited by law, many collection agencies still persist in
this unethical behavior.
The FDCPA protects consumers from creditors who engage in behavior including:
- Calling a debtor at impermissible hours such as before 8 AM and after 9
AM or continually and with the intent to harass.
- Contacting or repeatedly attempting to contact the friends, relatives,
or employer of a debtor to discuss specific and private financial matters.
- The knowing misrepresentation or fraudulent expression of a debt or terms
of a debt as a method of collection.
- Contacting a debtor directly after it has been made clear that legal representation
for the debt owed has been obtained.
- Attempted collection of debts which are not owed, or have already been paid.
If you are being constantly disturbed by creditors or feel as though you
have been a victim of creditor harassment, it is vital to contact an attorney
as soon as possible. Depending on your situation, there may be several
legal options available to you, including litigation and legal compensation.
What Can a Creditor Legally Do?
New York State provides many protections for debtors, however, a creditor
still has rights and may pursue several legal actions towards the collection
of the money owed. If the initial attempts to collect a debt are continually
unsuccessful, a creditor can sue a debtor in court to obtain a judgement.
A judgement is a document stating the legal recognition of a debt and
its terms. If successful, a creditor is given the title of “judgement
creditor” and will be granted several legal options for collections
not otherwise available.
Methods legally available to a Judgement creditor Include:
Depositions and investigations: Debtors may be subject to legal investigations which must be responded
to under oath and by law. Many times this will include financial information
such as the extent of assets owned and expected income.
Garnishment: A debtor can request a garnishment on bank account funds allowing access
to money in order to secure payment of the debt. New York sets limits
on the amount in a given bank account which can be frozen for these purposes.
Judgement liens: A creditor can also attach a lien to a property owned by a debtor as
a method of securing payment. When this property is sold, the creditor
is entitled to payment derived from the money obtained through the sale.
In New York, a lien can be attached to real estate, such as houses and
land as well as to personal property such as paintings and other valuables.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
If you think you may be subject to illegal creditor harassment, do not
hesitate to contact our knowledgeable Queens bankruptcy attorney. Our
lead attorney has more than 25 years of legal experience and in-depth
knowledge of the circumstances and laws surrounding bankruptcy, the FDCPA,
and debtor-creditor disputes. Attorney Bronson has maintained an AV®
rating from Martindale-Hubbell® (the highest an attorney can achieve)
for more than two decades.
Call (888) 900-6057 today and talk to a lawyer about your legal options.