Debt Defense: What Rights Do You Have?

One of the biggest problems with outstanding debt claims is that the debtor doesn’t remember the debt in question or is not sure that the debt is even theirs in the first place. This could be because the debt is so old, or because it is held by a debt collector that the debtor does not recognize. Debts are bought and sold all the time, so it is possible for a debt that you owe to be purchased from your original creditor by a debt collector, or a series of debt collectors.


Debt collectors can be aggressive when it comes to recovering a debt. They might try and harass you over the phone, or might threaten you. But you have certain legal protections from this sort of treatment from your debt collectors. Three of the most useful protections debtors have against their debt collectors include:


  1. The right to request verification of a debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and New York Debt Collection Rules, if you request verification of a debt in writing, then the debt collector is required to provide you with a verification or validation of the debt that they are trying to collect on. The verification letter is required to include, at minimum, a brief description of the debt that is allegedly owed, and the name and address of the original creditor. While there is no time frame in which the debt collector is required to respond to your request for debt verification or validation, the debt collector is prohibited from contacting you about the debt again until the debt has been verified.
  2. The right to put a stop to harassing phone calls. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you can put a stop to harassing telephone calls from debt collectors by withdrawing your consent for the debt collector to contact you at that telephone number. You can either do this over the phone (but sometimes debt collectors will deny that you revoked your consent over the phone since it is difficult to prove otherwise) or you can send a letter – certified mail, return receipt requested – stating that the debt collector no longer has your consent to contact you. You can also demand that the debt collector never contact you on your cell phone. Nevertheless, the debt collector may still sue you and you must respond to any legal papers in a timely manner.
  3. The right to sue when a debt collector violates your federal or state protections. If a debt collector violates any of the legal protections provided to you under the state and federal laws concerning debt collection, you can sue the offending debt collector. For each case in which there is a violation, the debt collector will have to pay you statutory damages – that is, damages for merely violating your rights – in addition to any actual damages that you have suffered, together with the reasonable attorney fees and costs associated with your suit against them.


Contact A New York Debt Defense Attorney


When you are being contacted by debt collectors, you have certain legal protections that you should fully exercise if your situation warrants doing so. Contact a New York debt collection abuse lawyer immediately. Contact the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. to schedule an appointment today.