Here’s an interesting fact for New York consumers: No matter how old your debt is, debt collectors can try to collect it. Even if your debt is twenty years old, and no debt collection agency in any state could successfully sue you over it, they can still call you about it. New Yorkers who receive calls about old debt have a few different options when it comes to dealing with this unpleasant blast from the past. First and foremost, never admit that you owe the debt or make a payment before getting all of the facts. This can breathe new life into even the oldest debt and give the debt collector the legal right to take you to court.
The Safest Way for New Yorkers to Deal with Debt Collectors Calling About Old Debt
It’s tempting to just ignore debt collectors calling about old debt. After all, there’s a good chance that you barely remember the debt. Surely, nothing will come of something that happened so long ago. However, the debt collector probably won’t give up anytime soon. New York debt collection agencies buy old debt for pennies on the dollar, then try to get what they can from consumers. They’ll just keep calling you because they literally have nothing to lose.
The best that these bottom-feeding debt collectors can hope for is to get you to slip up and re-age the debt. This is why no New Yorker should ever admit to owing the debt or agree to a payment plan before getting more information. Remember that if you pay even one dollar toward the debt, the clock resets on that debt’s statute of limitations. So, with this in mind, proceed with caution.
Get all of the information you can about the debt.
When talking to a debt collector about old debt, don’t answer questions – ask questions. Start off by asking for the name, address, and phone number of the debt collection agency. Make sure to write this information down for your records. If the debt collector refuses to provide identifying information, it is likely that they represent a scam company.
Next, find out the name of the original creditor and the date of the last payment made on the debt. Finally, ask the debt collection agent if the debt is past the statute of limitations. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors must send you a written notice about the debt. This letter should arrive within five days after your phone conversation. If, however, you don’t receive this letter, send your own letter to debt collection agency, demanding verification. At this point, according to the FDCPA, the debt collector may not contact you again until they provide this information.
Determine whether or not the debt is past the statute of limitations.
If the debt collection agent won’t tell you the debt’s current status, you’ll have to figure this out for yourself. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state, and they are not the same for every type of debt. In New York, though, the statute of limitations for filing a debt collection lawsuit for a “consumer credit transaction” is six years past the “date of the default.” This means that the clock starts about 30 days after a New York consumer stops making payments on an account. If you’re not sure about the status of a debt, you can always contact a debt collection attorney in New York for help.
Figure out what you want to do about the old debt.
Once you have verified that the debt is, in fact, old and past the statute of limitations, you have three options. While investigating the debt, some New York consumers will discover that that the debt isn’t even valid. Either the debt isn’t theirs or they already paid it. If this is the case, you should dispute the debt in writing. Then, under the FDCPA, the debt collector may not contact you until your dispute is resolved.
On the other hand, if the old debt is yours, and you decide to pay it off just to get it out of the way, be careful about how you do this. Don’t pay anything until you get a signed contract from the debt collection agency. Then, if possible, pay with a check so that you can retain physical evidence of the payment.
The third option is to pay nothing because, since the debt is past the statute of limitations, the debt collector cannot legally make you pay. The debt collector may try to sue you anyway. If they do, you will need to go to court with evidence supporting your claim that the debt is too old to collect. You should also send a “cease and desist” letter to the debt collection agency to make them stop calling you. Just remember that if the old debt is resold to a different agency, you may have to go through this process again.
How New Yorkers should Handle Abusive Debt Collectors that Violate the FDCPA
There are many ways in which debt collectors violate the FDCPA in New York. For example, if you tell a debt collector to stop calling you in writing, and they persist, this is an FDCPA violation. Debt collectors are also not permitted to threaten or verbally abuse you, call at all hours, or discuss your debt with family members or co-workers. If a debt collector commits any of these violations against you, or harasses you in any way, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in New York. We will make the harassment stop – for FREE – and possibly make the debt collector pay you for damages.
Stop Debt Collector Harassment in New York
Don’t put up with abusive debt collectors. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been ending debt collector harassment and cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Carl Schwartz at (646) 859-3045 or sending him a message through our contact page.